NEWPORT (WATE) – A recent arrest has revealed details about the inner workings of a massive moonshine operation in Cocke County.
Locals say the family has been running for decades the operation on Beechwood Road in the Carson Springs section of Newport.
“It’s been going on since the ’60s,” said one neighbor, who did not want to be identified.
A federal grand jury indicted the owner, Jack Mayfield Jr., and two other men for illegally operating a distillery.
“This is the way our county lives. This is all this boy knows,” she added, about why she’s upset.
Mayfield has pleaded not guilty.
According to paperwork, one of his former workers told TBI he had 15-18 moonshine stills. They’d turn them on at 5 a.m., and a batch would be complete by noon. Then they would dilute the alcohol down to 100 proof, averaging at about 25 cases a day.
The neighbor believes the crackdown, after so many decades, is because of the rise in the number of legal distilleries in the Smokies.
“Now that they are in Gatlinburg, they are coming on to us. You pay $35 a quart there and we charge $10-$12,” she said.
Two men employed by Mayfield, Michael Reece and James Hickman, were also indicted in the case.
“We have to support our families. If it’s throwing ‘shine, then it’s throwing ‘shine,” she said.
6 News spoke to Mayfield’s wife while we were on the property.
The family cannot do an interview, but she said investigators still had surveillance cameras set up on their property.