J H Touchton Raided Giant Moonshine Still at Fargo, GA

In 1967 J. H. Touchton,  Agent for the Georgia Department of Revenue, was living in Ray City, GA. On January 29 of that year he was in on the bust of a giant moonshine still down in the Okefenokee Swamp near Fargo, GA.  It seems amazing that they were still making serious quantities of moonshine down in the swamp as late as 1967.  Perhaps they still do…

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Clinch County News reports giant moonshine still busted, January 29, 1967.

Clinch County News reports giant moonshine still busted, January 29, 1967.

Clinch County News
February 3, 1967

Giant ‘Shine Still Was Seized Close to Fargo

FARGO –Revenue agents knocked over a 14,400-gallon moonshine whiskey still, described as operated by a state-wide syndicate, near Fargo Monday night. In the process the agents made five arrests, including one juvenile.
    The still was a mile east of Fargo on the Suwannee river and consisted of eight 1800-gallon distillery vats containing 10,800 gallons of mash.  Confiscated were 240 gallons of liquor, which was dumped, a 1963 model pickup truck with 7 butane gas cylinders, a 1962 luxury automobile, and thirty 60-pound sacks of sugar.
    Gordon Warren, head of the federal alcohol and tobacco tax office at Valdosta, said three adults arrested are part of a “big liquor syndicate in the state. They have prior records and are well known to our department.” He described the still as “one of the biggest I’ve ever seen.”
    Arrested and charged with manufacture of the non-tax paid whiskey were Ray Jackson Cribbs, 29, Lyons, Ga., James Lenten Parrish, 27, Vidalia, Ga., Oscar Delmar Ogilvie, 44 College Park, Ga., a 16-year old Fargo youth, and Jim Steedley, 66, of Fargo.
    The still was capable of producing 1,920 gallons of moonshine a week at a cost to the taxpayers of $28,800 which is the amount of taxes the government is cheated of in the sale of that much whiskey, according to W. W. Davis, regional supervisor for the Georgia Dept of Revenue.
    Participating in the raid, according to Davis, were state agents K. D. DeVane of Lakeland, W. D. Gillis of Pearson, J. H. Touchton of Ray City, Federal agents from Valdosta, and Sheriff Charlie Smith and Deputy Lawton Allen.
    Warren said the site had been under observation for several days. He said investigation shows a state liquor syndicate has started moving its operations in this south Georgia area.  “There are some big operators back of this thing,” he said.

The big bust of 1967 was at Fargo, GA but State revenuers worked also worked their share of moonshine stills in and around Berrien county.

Destruction of a Berrien County moonshine still, 1960. On the left is Georgia Department of Revenue agent Kay Devane. The man kneeling on the right may be Revenue Agent J. H.Touchton of Ray City, GA. (Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com)

Destruction of a Berrien County moonshine still, 1960. On the left is Georgia Department of Revenue agent Kay Devane. The man kneeling on the right may be Revenue Agent J. H.Touchton of Ray City, GA. (Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com)

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