Traffic stop in Russell County leads to the discovery of long-term moonshine operation

Local News

The Russell County Sheriff’s Office uncovered an illegal moonshine operation after following up on a stolen property case.

 “It was a long time coming and it happened from a traffic stop,” Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said during a news conference Friday afternoon.

Sheriff Taylor says a deputy pulled over a car Wednesday for hauling a trailer without lights and a tag. The deputy discovered the trailer’s VIN had been removed which indicated the trailer was stolen property.

Sheriff Taylor says after locating the owner, a fencing company out of Lee County, the Sheriff’s Office obtained arrest warrants for two Hurtsboro men and a warrant to search their home.

Manuel Eugene Davis Sr. and Manual Eugene Davis Jr. were arrested Thursday.

While searching the home on Rutherford Road, the Sheriff’s Office says they discovered several items believed to be stolen property, and a trail.

“We had heard rumors about this still. Community telling us about this still for years and years,” says Sheriff Taylor.

Sheriff Taylor said the trail led investigators straight to the still where they found more than 500 gallons of moonshine ready for sale, and 27 containers of mash.

“They were walking the property line, they saw the trail, they followed the trail and it led them straight to the still.”

Sheriff Taylor says it’s one of the biggest moonshine busts in Russell County.

“That’s a lot of finished product. We are talking about probably $30,000 street value in moonshine.”

When asked how long the moonshine operation had been going on, Sheriff Taylor said it’s likely been in business a while.

“He’s probably been selling moonshine, and I don’t know if it’s out of the same still or if the still has changed locations, but I would probably say that he’s been selling moonshine for the last ten years at least.” 

Sheriff Taylor says the Russell County Sheriff’s Office will typically bust one moonshine operation a year.

“We fly and look for those types of things at various times through the year We have not been able to locate it from the air before now.”

Somehow, this operation managed to stay off the grid.

“This still was set up under a canopy of trees and it was very well hidden.”

Until now, and Sheriff Taylor says it boils down to good old-fashioned police work.   

“People underestimate us sometimes and that’s OK.”

Manuel Eugene Davis Sr. faces several charges to include receiving stolen property, altering a VIN number, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a still/illegally manufactured alcoholic beverage.

Manuel Eugene Davis Jr. faces charges for receiving stolen property and altering a VIN number.

Sheriff Taylor says the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency assisted in the removal of the moonshine, which could lead to federal charges.

Sheriff Taylor says both men made bail.

Davis Jr. made bail Thursday night, and Davis Sr. made bail Friday morning.

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