Fair Oaks isn't generally considered a place where someone would own a still, much less have a hankering to make illegal corn liquor. But last week, special agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) seized a distilling apparatus there, in the vicinity of Valley Road.
Since no one has been arrested and charged in connection with the still and/or the possible production of illegal moonshine, the ABC is releasing little information about the case. Agents decline to reveal the exact address where the still was discovered; however, spokeswoman Betty Gettings with the ABC's Richmond office spilled a few details.
Authorities seized the still last Wednesday, Oct. 8, shortly after 10 p.m., and Fairfax County police helped out. "The police received a call from a concerned citizen indicating that there may be a still at this location," said Gettings. "They, in turn, called ABC, and they went together and confiscated it."
"It was found on the residential property [along Valley Road], in an adjacent building [to the home there] — some sort of shed," she continued. "The agent said that there was or is evidence that it could possibly have been an active still."
ACCORDING TO THE Virginia Code, section 4.1-314, "No person shall keep, store or have in his possession any still, or distilling apparatus, without a permit from the (ABC) Board. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor." This crime is punishable by as much as a year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.
Furthermore, section 4.1-300 of the Virginia Code prohibits "the manufacture of alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth without being licensed to manufacture such ... beverages. The penalty for manufacturing without a license is a Class 6 felony." This offense carries with it a possible penalty of five years in prison.
However, said Gettings, ABC agents don't know when or if anyone will be charged, because it's an ongoing investigation. "The suspect isn't necessarily the owner of the property where the still was found," she said. According to the ABC, its own mission — among other things — is to "control the distribution of alcoholic beverages; operate efficient, conveniently located retail outlets; enforce the laws of the Commonwealth pertaining to alcoholic beverages ... and provide a reliable source of revenue [for the state]."