Officers bust still in Landrum
Published 9:17am Tuesday, July 5, 2011
$150k in cash, about 2,000 gallons seized
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office busted a moonshine still in the Landrum area last week that Sheriff Chuck Wright said is one of the largest in the county’s history.
The sheriff’s office seized $150,000 in cash, four vehicles and approximately 1,500 to 2,000 gallons of illegal white liquor last Thursday, June 30 from the property located at 350 Plantation Drive in the Landrum area, or what is known as “Dark Corner,” according to sheriff’s office reports.
Sheriff’s officials said there was also enough product to produce another approximately 200 gallons of illegal white liquor.
It is legal to make liquor for personal consumption, but sheriff Wright said this operation was well beyond personal consumption.
Three men face charges in connection with the operation, which included a 10-month undercover investigation conducted by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Michael Eston Blackwell, 44, of 6085 New Cut Road, Inman, S.C., was arrested and charged with 13 counts of selling/manufacturing/storage of unlawful liquor and sale of a distillery, according to booking reports.
Larry Hyder, 53, of 321 Plantation Drive, Landrum, and Carroll Campbell, 72, of 305 S. Randolph St., Landrum, will also be charged with selling/manufacturing/storage of unlawful liquor, according to Master Deputy Craig Bradley.
The sheriff’s office said both Hyder and Campbell have arranged to turn themselves into the sheriff’s office next week, when they will be charged.
Sheriff Wright said the operation was pretty large. He also said he isn’t the first official to bust an operation at the property over the years. According to Wright, it’s likely that liquor has been made on the property for at least 60 years.
“Most men can’t drink two glasses of this stuff without wallerin’ around in the dirt,” Wright said. “If you drank all that yourself, you’d be pickled.”
Officers purchased approximately 214 gallons of moonshine during the operation, according to the sheriff’s office.
The undercover operation began after officers received complaints about moonshine being sold at a roadside produce stand. Blackwell owns a peach stand, and investigators said they believe word of mouth spread the information that homegrown liquor was available in the area.
If convicted of a first offense for producing illegal liquor, the suspects will face a fine of not less than $600 or six months in prison.
Sheriff’s officers said all three men were very cooperative.Blackwell was released last week on a $14,000 bond.