CHICKASHA — A tip led police to a moonshine operation in a wooded area behind a feed manufacturing plant, detective Sgt. Traye Alexander said Thursday.
Plant employee Ryan Keith Smith, 29, of Anadarko, told police he stole hardware from the plant to build a moonshine still, along with corn, yeast, molasses and sugar, Alexander said. Those ingredients are used to make the illegal alcohol, he said.
“I've been here 15 years and this is the first time I have encountered a still,” Alexander said.
Chickasha is about 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
Two bottles of suspected moonshine whiskey found at the scene were taken into evidence along with the still, he said.
Smith was not arrested, but charges are pending, Alexander said.
“We have seen a marked increase in the last two years in moonshine,” said Capt. Joe Daniels, special agent with the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission.
Most of the stills are found in southeastern Oklahoma, Daniels said.
This year ABLE agents have taken down eight stills, he said.
Pure moonshine typically sells for $25 per quart, Daniels said. After buying the ingredients, moonshiners make a roughly 10 percent profit, he said.
“It's common for people who make moonshine to steal the ingredients so they can make a profit,” he said.