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Pittsylvania County man faces moonshine charges

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 1:41 pm | Updated: 8:36 pm, Tue Jun 18, 2013.

A Pittsylvania County man is facing charges of selling moonshine after Alcoholic Beverage Control agents and Pittsylvania County sheriff’s deputies found moonshine, weapons and cash at his Brosville home Monday.

After a four-month investigation, ABC agents obtained a warrant to search the Horseshoe Road home of Ronald Wayne Bray, 63.

The agents and deputies seized 339 gallons of moonshine, 18 weapons and $617 in cash from Bray’s home. The moonshine was packaged in clear one-gallon containers with blue tops, similar to milk jugs. The firearms in Bray’s residence were mainly rifles and shotguns.

Moonshine isn’t limited to the backwoods,” ABC’s Special Agent in Charge Kyle Blanks said in a news release after the bust, which took place just a few miles west of Danville. “We’ll continue to follow up on illegal whiskey leads wherever they take us in the commonwealth.”

Blanks said undercover operatives had made numerous purchases of moonshine from Bray over the past several months, leading to the execution of the warrant.

Pending discussions with the commonwealth’s attorney, criminal indictments are being sought against Bray for four counts of selling alcohol without a license, four counts of possession of untaxed liquor and one count of maintaining a common nuisance, all misdemeanors; they also seek charges of four counts of unlawful sale of alcohol with 100 yards of a dangerous weapon, a Class 6 felony, according to the news release.

Blanks said moonshine is no longer made just in remote, rural areas. His unit, formed 18 months ago, has found moonshine stills in Penhook, nip joints in Hampton Roads and this apparent distribution site in Brosville that, while Bray’s property is rural, is only minutes from Danville.

“We’re finding them in houses, garages and sheds,” Blanks said. “Today, it’s everywhere; there are small set-ups that are easy to hide.”

Some set-ups are so small liquor can literally be distilled on a kitchen stove, Blanks said.

“In today’s society, it would surprise me to see it popping up anywhere,” Blanks said.

People are allowed to brew their own beer and make their own wine in Virginia — as long as it is for personal use and they are not selling it, Blanks said. But making distilled liquor — or even owning the equipment to distill liquor — is illegal even for personal use without all the proper licenses and paying taxes to the state.

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