Father, son sentenced in moonshine case

Charles Warner Editor

December 12, 2013

UNION COUNTY — A father and son arrested in October after sheriff’s deputies found more than 250 gallons of moonshine on their property pleaded guilty in General Sessions Court this week.

James Wallace Harris, 51, and Manual Grady “Preach” Harris, 89, both of 208 Pasture Drive, Union, were arrested on Oct. 29 and charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with possession of illegal liquor.

The Harrises were arrested after a search of their property by the Union County Narcotics Taskforce turned up three gallons of moonshine in their refrigerator. After finding the moonshine, the Harrises were taken into custody and transported to the Union County Jail while investigators expanded their search of the property.

In an Oct. 30 press conference announcing the arrest of the Harrises, Sheriff David Taylor said the expanded search of their property turned up 54 gallons of moonshine in a carpet storage room and 197 gallons in a cattle barn. Taylor said that investigators seized a total of 254 of moonshine which he said his office determined was the largest amount of illegal alcohol ever seized in Union County. He said investigators estimated the moonshine seized from the Harris property sold for between $25 and $30 a gallon.

In addition to the moonshine, investigators also seized $40,000 in cash.

During the press conference, Taylor said it was James Harris’ first offense which carries a minimum penalty of a $600 fine and six months in prison. For Manual Harris, however, it was his second offense which Taylor said carries a minimum penalty of a $1,500 fine or one year in prison.

On Tuesday, the Harrises both pleaded guilty to possession of illegal liquor before Judge Donald Hocker of Laurens in General Sessions Court.

Hocker sentenced James Harris to six months suspended upon six months probation.

Manual Harris, who pleaded guilty to possession of illegal liquor first offense, was sentenced by Hocker to two years suspended upon six months house arrest and electronic monitoring.

Union County Clerk of Court Freddie said Wednesday that in handing down the sentences, Hocker also authorized the sheriff’s office at Taylor’s discretion to go on the Harris property during the six months to ensure that no illegal activity is taking place.

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.