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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


OCTOBER 3, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


HOWELL COUNTY FATHER, SON PLEAD GUILTY

TO OPERATING AN ILLEGAL STILL


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Howell County, Mo., men pleaded guilty in federal court today to operating an illegal still.


            Wayne H. Pettyjohn, 70, and his son, Francis Dwayne Pettyjohn, 40, both of Howell County, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge James C. England this morning to the charges contained in an Aug. 16, 2006, federal indictment.


            Wayne and Francis Pettyjohn each admitted that, although they are not distillers authorized by law, they operated an unregistered still and made distilled spirits without a license on four separate occasions between May 8 and Aug. 10, 2006.


            Wayne and Francis Pettyjohn each pleaded guilty to tax fraud by a distiller. They admitted that, having engaged in the business of a distiller from at least as early as 1998 until Aug. 10, 2006, they defrauded the government of the tax on the spirits he distilled.


            Francis Pettyjohn also pleaded guilty to concealing untaxed spirits on Aug. 10, 2006, during the execution of a search warrant.


            Law enforcement officers of the South Central Drug Task Force purchased "moonshine" whiskey from the Pettyjohns in the course of an undercover investigation. The Pettyjohns operated an illegal still to make the untaxed spirits in their barn, then sold the product to bars in the Howell County area. On Aug. 10, 2006, ATF agents seized what has been described as the largest illegal still taken out of operation in Missouri in over 30 years.


            There has been no disposition on the asset forfeiture allegation contained in the federal indictment. The indictment contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the Pettyjohns to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the violations, including 80 acres of real estate in Howell County, along with $20,607 and all unregistered distilling apparatus and distilled spirits and raw materials for the production of distilled spirits.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard E. Monroe. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the South Central Drug Task Force, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Missouri State Alcohol and Tobacco Control Unit, and the Howell County, Mo., Sheriff's Department.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html