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Deputies Uncover 'Elaborate' Moonshine Operation

Posted April 24, 2008
Updated April 25, 2008

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— Charges were pending against a Johnston County farmer after sheriff's deputies uncovered more than $5,000 in moonshine and illegal substances at his farm.

Sheriff Steve Bizzell said investigators were looking for a stolen tractor when they happened upon the smell of fermenting mash at Stony Brook Farms in Four Oaks.

Upon further investigation, they found a 500-gallon still and pipes running beneath a barn to a second barn. There, they found more than 200 jugs of moonshine.

"This was an elaborate moonshine operation," Bizzell said of the facilities they uncovered Tuesday.

In a third barn, they found 12 medium-sized marijuana plants growing and small quantities of methamphetamine and ecstasy and two handguns, they said. Investigators also found 125 $1 bills wadded inside the barn's walls.

Investigators have turned over the moonshine operation to the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement to investigate Rickie Wayne Norris, 52, of 7763 Strickland Crossroads Road. The North Carolina Department of Revenue was also investigating.

Deputies also arrested his son, Jeremy Wayne Norris, 21, for possessing and manufacturing drugs. He was out of jail Thursday on a $50,000 secured bond.

"Apparently, the son felt like, 'If it was OK for daddy to make liquor, it was OK for me to be involved in meth, ecstasy and growing marijuana,'" Bizzell said.

Bizzell said that, historically, many have turned a cheek to moonshine, but not him.

"A lot of people think making moonshine is OK, but my job as sheriff is to enforce the criminal laws of the state of North Carolina," he said. "And as long am I'm sheriff, I will do that."

Making and selling moonshine in North Carolina are misdemeanors. Moonshine currently sells for between $20 and $40 per gallon.

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  • CrewMax Apr 25, 6:31 p.m.

    Kudos to the Sheriff in Johnston County. Took them down and NO
    ONE GOT HURT. No SBI investigation, either. Now, that is quality
    police work.

  • GWALLY Apr 25, 5:26 p.m.

    who the heck still drinks moonshine?????

    I don't but I might add it to my gas tank in the future!! Besides that the only reason the gov. is so hot to trot to enforce THIS law is the tax money they are losing...plain and simple. If the us gov was loosing tax money because of illegal aliens those laws would be enforced as well!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Timbo Apr 25, 5:17 p.m.

    It's sad that this moonshiner is dealing all those other drugs. He's giving white liquor a bad name and he should be arrested.

  • sundown4789 Apr 25, 4:10 p.m.

    You sure can tell there are alot of transplants on this board not to know there is still places that you can get good shine in the country.Granville Co.ranks up there also.

  • amynrutledge Apr 25, 2:54 p.m.

    "A lot of people think making moonshine is OK, but my job as sheriff is to enforce the criminal laws of the state of North Carolina," he said. "And as long am I'm sheriff, I will do that."

    ----Its time for a new sheriff who can think on thier own. I also think he has an ego thing going with the last sentence. Remind me, what year is it again?

    Hey, Ordinary Citizen it is not an election year for Sherrif Bizzell. He won't be up for re-election for 2 more years. He was first elected in 1998 and has been re-elected twice since then.

  • fyiarp Apr 25, 2:44 p.m.

    But what if one day, Opie gets into the moonshine? What lecture could Andy possibly have for that one, and won't aunt Bea have a heart attack? Let's not even mention Barney.

  • Apr 25, 2:20 p.m.

    "And you know what you (think)you know and I do know what I know."

    Who's on first?

    Sorry, I just couldn't pass on that one...you know.


  • Weetie Apr 25, 2:13 p.m.

    ooops..."Face" excuse the typo

  • Weetie Apr 25, 2:08 p.m.

    nope..didn't hit a nerve with me. And you know what you (think)you know and I do know what I know.

    Please remeber this: All "criminals have the right to ace their accusers." Even snitches.

  • RKBA Apr 25, 2:05 p.m.

    Moonshine is part of Johnston county life... and I'm kind of glad it is. (Yes, I'm a Johnston county resident. No, I don't drink!)

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