Rhea traffic stop evolves into moonshine charges - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rhea traffic stop evolves into moonshine charges

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Old Washington, TN (WRCB) - Twenty-two-year-old Cory Cox of Rhea County says he was driving home from the supermarket January 15th when he got pulled over at the intersection of Double S and Shipley Road for a busted headlight.

He says he and the deputy recognized one other from a previous traffic stop where Cox was charged for driving on a suspended license.

On the way to jail on the newest suspended license charge, Cox asked the deputy if he would take the newly bought food home to his wife and 3 week old child and the officer obliged his request.

Once there, deputies allegedly found a working moonshine still on the back deck of the property.

Adding to the suspended license charge, Cox now faces one count each of possessing a moonshine still and manufacturing moonshine.

We spoke to Mr. Cox who politely declined an on camera interview with us, but he did say that his operation of a moonshine still was one that was strictly for personal consumption.

But the explanation may not be enough to clear him of the charge.

"Under Title 39, Chapter 17 and statutes therein it clearly says the apparatus is a violation or the mere possession of an untaxed liquor is a violation of the law," says noted local attorney Clancy Covert, who adds while home brewing may be growing in popularity, not all self-produced spirits are equal in the eyes of state lawmakers.

"In Tennessee, you're allowed to make your own beer, you're allowed to make your own wine," explains Covert." But because liquors are taxed, the statutes say any untaxed liquor, the possession of it or the making apparatus of it is a violation against the law."

Cox says he's uncertain how he'll plead.  He admits to possessing the still, but says he had no home produced alcohol at the time of his arrest.

Rhea County Sheriff's officials declined to talk to us about the case.

Cox makes his first appearance on the latest charges January 30th. 

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