PINE MOUNTAIN — A routine call for service Saturday led to the discovery of an illegal, operational moonshine still in the 9300 block of Chipley Highway and arrest of one man, according to deputies with the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office.
A news release states Jerry Lee Tumlin, 65, of Chipley Highway, was taken into custody and transported to the Meriwether County Jail.
Sheriff Chuck Smith said patrol deputies located the still, along with manufacturing products, about 85 gallons of illegally manufactured moonshine liquor, illegally possessed firearms and a misdemeanor amount of marijuana.
“The patrol supervisor observed some suspicious activity around a commercial propane holding tank,” stated Smith. “As both units began to check out this suspicious activity … they saw a small camouflage pop-up tent with a chair in it located in the wooded area behind the propane tank.
“During this time the patrol deputies smelled a strong sour odor. As they checked the wooded area further they discovered an illegal moonshine still that had recently been in operation with the finished alcohol located within several containers to include a 55-gallon drum along with various buckets and jugs. The smell that the deputies observed being the fermented mash, which is a bi-product of the moonshine making process.”
Smith said deputies found Tumlin inside a mobile home in a wooded area about 50 yards away from the moonshine still.
Deputies also saw the marijuana inside the home, along with several firearms, Smith stated.
Meriwether County sheriff’s investigators allege Tumlin admitted to selling at least 100 gallons of moonshine liquor for about $40 per gallon and giving away an undetermined amount.
Smith said investigators, along with the Georgia Department of Revenue, collected samples of the moonshine and materials used to make it.
The Durand Volunteer Fire Department assisted in destroying the illegal still and moonshine alcohol, according to the sheriff’s report.
Deputies seized nine firearms and an undisclosed amount of money from Tumlin’s mobile home, stated Smith.
Tumlin was charged with felony unlawful manufacturing of distilled spirits, possession of firearms by a convicted felon and one misdemeanor count each of unlawful possession of unstamped distilled spirits and marijuana possession. He was released from jail on a $12,000 bond.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.