3 Polk County alleged moonshiners facing charges

Updated:

HAINES CITY, Fla. - A bootleg moonshine operation has been shut down in Polk County and three men have been arrested, authorities said.

Officials said Joe Aaron, 73, Rickey Barnes, 31, and Jacob Mayes, 28, were making, selling and distributing the moonshine in the Haines City area.

Authorities said they seized the trio's moonshine still, copper tubing and multiple Mason jars full of assorted flavors of moonshine.

Investigators said the still was found in a bathroom next to a dirty sink and toilet at a residence on Carter Road. They said Aaron was producing and distributing the moonshine and that it appeared to have been distilled from a mixture of grains.

"The illegal moonshine racket in Polk County is alive, but not-so-well.  (Moonshiner) Popcorn Sutton would not have been proud of these bootleggers. It wasn't a very sophisticated operation, but they were producing, distributing and selling illegal moonshine in the area," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Aaron and Barnes face charges of possession/sell/manufacture/transport still material liquids, possession of illegal liquor, conspiracy to violate beverage law and unlawful possession/sell/transport alcohol beverage containers.

Barnes, who also faces numerous drug charges, was in possession of moonshine and numerous items used to flavor the beverage, including pineapple, apple pie and peach.

Mayes was charged with possession of illegal liquor, conspiracy to violate beverage law and unlawful possession/sell/transport alcohol beverage containers.