ABC: Moonshine Making a Return in Virginia

March 28, 2011

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says it's seeing a resurgence in illegal liquor making in parts of the state.

The agency says it's seized five stills in raids across southwest Virginia in March. Agent Chris Goodman tells The Roanoke Times that other investigations are ongoing.

Goodman says the moonshine trade seems to be reemerging, perhaps because of the tough U.S. economy.

The numbers show the agency investigated 22 stills in the fiscal year that ended last June. That's the highest total since a federal crackdown called Operation Lightning Strike in 1999. Twenty-nine people were convicted.

The agency says it's making more busts despite having fewer people. Retirements prompted the agency to disband its Illegal Whiskey Unit in 2009.

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