Moonshiner busted in Connelly Springs, police say

By: MATTHEW HENSLEY | Morganton News Herald Published: March 15, 2012

CONNELLY SPRINGS -- Police say they put a leading supplier of moonshine in Burke County out of business Thursday when they seized his hooch.

The Burke County Narcotics Task Force and N.C. ALE raided 6622 Berea Ave. Ext. on suspicion that resident Vernon Lee Duckett, 71, was selling the illicit liquor from his home, according to task force Sgt. Rick Hasson.

Investigators found 30 to 40 gallons of “untaxed liquor” in a 55-gallon wooden barrel, Hasson said. The barrel was corked off and had a rubber hose coming out of it that investigators believe was used to fill other containers with moonshine.

The barrel was so heavy, Hasson said, that officers had to pour some of the moonshine into other containers so they could carry it from the home.

Police found no evidence that Duckett was distilling the liquor.

Duckett was cited for possession of non-tax paid liquor and possess for sale non-tax paid liquor, both misdemeanors.

The charges are misdemeanors if it’s a first offense, but becomes a felony for those with prior convictions for moonshining, Hasson said.

The investigator said officers had seen very little moonshine in the county until recently, when they noticed a spike in the illegal booze. Most of what police found had fruit in it.

The task force began looking for the source and, after a month-long investigation, Hasson said police found themselves at Duckett’s door.

During the raid, the same fruit was found at the home that investigators saw in the moonshine elsewhere in the county. Hasson said Duckett is likely the seller.

Investigators also seized several guns from the home. Hasson expects to file weapon charges against Duckett as the 71-year-old is a felon who served time in federal prison on drug charges.