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Moonshine in Tri-Cities and East Tennessee

Haywood County moonshiner Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton (age 62) committed suicide because he didn't want to go to jail. His wife Pam found her husband Monday afternoon dead of carbon monoxide poisoning. They lived in Cocke County, Tennessee She found him at the rear of their property inside his beloved old Ford Fairlane, which was running, according to the Citizens-Times of Asheville March 17, 2009.

She said, "He got his letter to report Friday, and he just couldn't handle it. We tried everything we could to leave him on house arrest, and they wouldn't do it. So I thank the federal court for this. And he was really sick. He was depressed. I didn't know he was that depressed...He was a good man, he really was."

Popcorn wrote a book called Me and My Likker: The True Story of a Mountain Moonshiner For more on his book

Legendary Moonshine Maker Arrested

KNOXVILLE, TN Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton has been charged with making and selling illegal liquor after agents found hundreds of gallons of moonshine and three stills on his property. In July, a judge sentenced him to $3,000 in fines and two years' probation after another moonshining arrest...Sutton is known for his videotapes and has written books that teach his technique.

One local resident said, "Leave him alone. He's not hurting anyone. He's just making a living doing what he knows...He is so nice. He's the sweetest man you could ever meet. Take it easy on him." According to a press release, they found more than 850 gallons of moonshine, the ingredients needed to make it, and three large stills.

To quote James Cavanaugh, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Nashville Field Division, "we will use any and all means to stop them. Moonshine is romanticized in folklore and movies. The truth is moonshine is a dangerous health issue and breeds other crime. That has not changed over the years." The arrest is aimed at drying up the sale of untaxed liquor and putting one of the best in the field out of business. Sutton will remain in the Greene County jail. ref WBIR 3-17-08.

Update 2009: GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal judge turned aside public pleas for leniency and sentenced famed Appalachian moonshiner Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton to 18 months in prison...The 62-year-old Parrottsville had pleaded guilty in April to two-counts charging him with illegally producing distilled spirits and being a felon in possession of a .38-caliber handgun.

State Makes Biggest Tri-Cities Moonshine Bust In Almost Two Decades

Bristol, Tennessee Feb 10, 2005: Local police report the biggest moonshine bust in over 10 years. After asking permission of a local women, they found over 250 gallons of the illegally distilled corn whiskey. The booze was found in a storage unit in Washington County, Tennessee, The women had no clue what the police were going to find. She admitted one could smell it. Police believe "somebody was storing these cases here without anyone else knowing, including the rental property's owner."

The liquor has an estimated street value of almost $13,000 dollars and they had to use an Army truck to transport it. They found the stash based on a tip. To quote, "It's nowhere near as popular as it used to be, but every now and then, he stumbles upon quarts or cases of the illegal whiskey." these finds are rare in Washington County, Tennessee.

Mary Ann Kinch, the lady that gave police permission to search the storage are hopes police will make an arrest. "We certainly don't want anything like that out here," Kinch said.

If you know of any moonshine or moonshine stills, state agents are urging you to call and let them know. You can call the local Alcoholic Beverage Commission agent at (423) 434-6451.

Deputies find Moonshine in pickup truck

November 26, 2008 Arvin Guffey of Beach Island S.C. agreed to a plea deal. He forfeited all the money confiscated in the moonshine case to Unicoi County. Guffey will also pay court costs and the misdemeanor charge of receiving and transporting untaxed liquor will be dropped. In September 2007 he was pulled over in Unicoi County for a D.U.I. He passed the sobriety test, but deputies 29 cases of moonshine in his truck bed. He had traveled to Northeast Tennessee several times to pick up moonshine, park his truck with money in it, found a load of booze when he came back.

He lost $3000 on untaxed alcohol which will now be destroyed.

Ref Ch. 11. Bristol