Illegal distillery operator arrested

By: By Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County Sheriff James A. McVicker announced Tuesday that a joint operation with the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement has lead to the arrest of a Columbus County man for operating an illegal distillery.

On Friday, July 27, the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit partnered with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agents from District III (Fayetteville) and District I (Jacksonville) to conduct an investigation into a illegal alcohol distillery operation in the Elizabethtown community. The investigation was the result of a complaint via social media post.

Agents arranged the purchase of an illegal liquor and conducted an undercover purchase of one gallon of non-tax paid liquor in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Elizabethtown. District III special agents and the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office conducted moving surveillance on the target and had probable cause to conduct a traffic stop in Clarkton.

The traffic stop revealed Jeremy Clark Powell, 37, of Whiteville, had an additional two gallons of illegal liquor in plastic jugs in the vehicle, as well as a concealed weapon.

After speaking with agents, Powell gave verbal and later written consent to search his property at 1204 Sam Potts Hwy. in Whiteville. The search led Alcohol Law Enforcement agents to an active liquor still in a small building in the rear of Powell’s residence, where law enforcement found approximately 100 gallons of mash.

Powell was cited and released with charges of possessing a non-tax-paid liquor, possessing alcoholic beverages for sale without an ABC permit, selling alcohol without an ABC permit, using property for the manufacture of alcoholic beverage, manufacturing alcohol without an ABC permit, and selling or possessing equipment for use in manufacturing alcohol.

“I constantly stress to my deputies the need to cooperate with other agencies, both local, state and federal,” McVicker said. We are all working to the same end, and partnering is just another way to help us keep our citizens safe.”

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By Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.