Moonshiners arrested in Kountze; still seized
By David Lisenby
Published 10:44 a.m., Thursday, May 10, 2012
A Kountze couple was arrested Wednesday evening after deputies served a search warrant and found over 45 gallons of moonshine and an operable still at their home on Harper Lane, south of the city.
Chad Swearingen, 41, and Stacie Swearingen, 42, were both charged with one count of possession of illicit distilled spirits and one count of possession of material of manufacture for illicit beverage.
Both suspects were arraigned Thursday morning. Bond was set at $1,500 on each charge.
Agents with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and agents from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were also on site assisting the deputies in the case.
Upon their arrival at the home, deputies found numerous bottles of moonshine in various stages of the distilling process. They also found, in a shed right outside the property, an active moonshine still that was in the midst of processing moonshine.
A 15-year-old minor was also in the home, in close proximity to the bottles of moonshine that were being stored in a laundry room inside the home. The bottles contained spirits in a variety of flavors, including apple pie, strawberry, peach, banana, and unflavored white moonshine.
The Hardin County Sheriff's Office confiscated a moonshine still and over 45 gallons of distilled spirits from a home on Harper Lane in Kountze Wednesday evening. Two were arrested and charged one count of possession of illicit distilled spirits and one count of possession of material of manufacture for illicit beverage. Photo: David Lisenby, HCN_Moonshine 2 / BE
The juvenile was released to a family member. The alcohol and still was transported to the offices of the TABC offices in Beaumont for analysis.
"Sheriff Cain has a zero tolerance policy on illegal narcotics in the county," Vincent said. "That also goes for the manufacture, delivery and sale of illegal alcohol. We will seek prosecution on any person we find making, delivering, selling, or possessing illegal alcohol in this county, just as we do for any drug. We do take the same stance on it."
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Section 109.21, "The head of a family or an unmarried adult may produce for the use of his family or himself not more than 200 gallons of wine, ale, malt liquor, or beer, per year. No license or permit is required."
However, the manufacture of illicit distilled spirits (or hard liquor), the manufacture, delivery, possession, or sale in any quantity is against the law.