Illegal stills found in area

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Officers with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department examine the active still found near Sparks Chapel community Wednesday. The are, from left, sheriff Larry Plott, dispatcher/jailer Mike Hill, Sgt. Mike Mayfield and Reserve Deputy Brent Caldwell.

Sparks Chapel Community east of Red Bay near the Bear Creek dam was the scene of a search by Franklin County law enforcement officers last Wednesday, May 17.

The search revealed two illegal stills in the woods near the community. The officers were acting on a report, which indicated that the stills might be in this area.

They were found off County Road 16 about one half of a mile west of the highway.

One of the stills was active and contained some 1,000 gallons of “still beer”, the first step in making homebrewed whiskey.

“Two of the stills (the ones in operating condition) hadn’t been fired up yet,” said Sheriff Larry Plott.

The stills, which were found along with remains of three more, were destroyed by the officers. An explosion was set off in the active still and the officers fired shots into the still to drain the alcohol.

Plott, County District Attorney Chris Hargett and several members of the sheriff’s department, including reserve deputies, participated in the search.

From the sites of these stills the officers continued their search into the Freedom Hills area, but no other stills were found. There were no indications at the sites of the stills as to the identity of the persons operating them.