Unicoi County

Moonshine, guns discovered accidentally at Unicoi County home

UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. - Moonshine, guns and hundreds of rounds of ammo were discovered by accident in Unicoi County, Tennessee.

We're told deputies went to a home to serve a warrant and found more than they bargained for.

Deputies went to 260 Scioto Woods Court with an arrest warrant for Jennifer Hampton, 43, for violating probation out of criminal court.

"We went up on the back porch of the mobile home and tried to get someone to come to the door," said Mike Hensley, the Unicoi County Sheriff.

When Hampton didn't answer, they decided to check the out building and found a moonshine still.

"This was totally unexpected," said Hensley.

Hensley told News 5 that they got a search warrant and spent the rest of the night dismantling the still and collecting the evidence.

"There was probably eight to ten barrels of sour mash in the fermenting process inside the home," said Hensley.

There were several jars of moonshine already prepared.

That's not all the deputies found. They discovered thousands of rounds of ammunition and 12 guns at the home.

"She was a convicted felon," said Hensley. "Once we found that out, that's why we confiscated all of these  weapons."

Convicted felons are not allowed to have firearms, he told us.

Deputies arrested Hampton and she's now at the Unicoi County jail. We're told she will be charged with manufacturing alcohol, possession of a moonshine still and animal cruelty. Deputies found a dead dog in the backyard that Hensley said may have froze to death.

Hensley told News 5 that there was also a man at the home but he was not charged.

"I'm very familiar with both individuals that live there," he said. "They both have been in and out of trouble for a while."

Hensley  told us this was a relatively small still with a five gallon cooker but he said it's not a new one.

"It's been an ongoing operation from my experience," he said. "From what I saw, it's been an operation for a while."

Hensley told us once the case goes through court they'll destroy the alcohol. He said they may save the still for possible public education events in the future.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges may be filed, he said.

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