Politics & Government

State busts 2nd illegal moonshine still in 3 months

State officials seized an illegal moonshine still in Estill County last Wednesday.
State officials seized an illegal moonshine still in Estill County last Wednesday. Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet

State officials have shut down the second illegal moonshine operation they’ve discovered in three months.

Agents with the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control seized a makeshift, indoor still last Wednesday on Spout Springs Road, north of Irvine in Estill County. The still had been discovered by Kentucky State Police, who were investigating a separate complaint at the property, said Ricki Gardenhire, spokeswoman for the state Public Protection Cabinet.

In all, the agents seized the still, a dozen gallon containers of moonshine, a bag of empty jugs, a record-keeping book and a small amount of marijuana.

Gardenhire said a criminal summons will be obtained for Ronald Ballou, who will be charged with various misdemeanors, including possession of an apparatus used for unlawful manufacture of alcoholic beverages; unlawful possession/trafficking of alcoholic beverage in a dry territory; and possession of marijuana.

Ballou could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

In April, state ABC agents seized a working moonshine still in Letcher County. In that case, Patrick Collier was charged with various misdemeanors, including illegal possession of an apparatus capable of making alcoholic beverages.

Gardenhire said that in her eight years at the cabinet, she could not recall or find news releases about previous state busts of moonshine still operations until the April seizure. The last reference of a moonshine still being confiscated in the Herald-Leader’s archives was in 1992, when a still was found in a cedar thicket in Russell County.