North Carolina Moonshine Bust 'Straight Out of Old Times'

Moonshiners had 2,000 gallons of liquor, $150,000 in cash, sheriff says.

ByABC News
July 2, 2011, 5:44 PM

July 2, 2011— -- In something "straight out of the old timers," Spartanburg County, N.C., deputies raided a moonshiner's still, seizing 2,000 gallons of "white liquor" in what could be the largest moonshine bust in the county's history.

Spartanburg County is a remote and mountainous region, and authorities said the proximity to the mountains aided the bootleggers in hiding the fairly complex and large still, according to ABC News affiliate WLOS-TV.

Making moonshine is considered a tradition and hobby that people here are very proud of, according to the county sheriff's office.

Michael Blackwell, Larry Hyder and Carroll Campbell, the three people caught in the bust that went down on Thursday, all face numerous but minor charges, according to WLOS. The three apparently sell the white liquor at roadside stands in remote parts of the county, the sheriff's office said.

When authorities arrived at the log cabin in the forest, they say the bootleggers made no attempt to hide any of the equipment they used to ferment and hold all 2,000 gallons of the illegal liquor, according to WLOS.

"They didn't try to hide it or anything like that, they were very responsive to us, very cooperative," Spartanburg County Master Sheriff Craig Bradley told WLOS. "They understand that their hobby has come to an end now."

Authorities said they also found $150,000 in cash, which they seized along with four cars.

"This is straight out of the old timers. Here, where we are this close to the mountains, this is still a part of their heritage," Bradley said to WLOS. "This is a hobby to their family, this is history to their family."

Bradley said the operation was probably decades old.

"I think this particular place right here [the distillery] is 60 years worth of [work]," Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said during a tour of the liquor still given to media Friday afternoon, according to WSPA-TV.

"Mr. Hyder's grandfather, his great-grandfather, maybe his great-great-grandfather, did this, and it was more of hobby than anything," Wright said to WSPA-TV. "But they were sure producing a lot of it."