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Press Release

Hancock County Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Moonshine Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi
Over $1.2 Million in State and Federal Taxes Owed on Illegally-Made Liquor

Gulfport, Miss – Willie Necaise, Jr., 77, of Hancock County, pled guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to Unlawful Production of Distilled Spirits and Interstate Travel in Aid of a Racketeering Enterprise, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Kurt Theilhorn, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Judge Ozerden will sentence Necaise on October 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.  He faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison on each charge.  He further faces fines up to $250,000 and 3 years of supervised release. 

Agents with the Enforcement Office of the Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) Division began investigating Necaise in 2018.  The investigation revealed that, over time, Necaise traveled out of state and obtained at least 569,775 pounds of sugar, a primary ingredient for moonshine.  In addition, records showed Necaise getting large deliveries of propane gas to a rural shed in Hancock County, even during the summer.  Agents tracked Necaise to Slidell, Louisiana, and observed him getting a pallet of sugar and coming back to Hancock County.  Armed with a search warrant, ABC Agents found forty 55-gallon drums of mash, 1200 new plastic jugs and a 200-gallon stainless steel cooker, along with sugar and other items related to illegal moonshine.  Necaise did not have a license to distill liquor.

Based on the records of the sugar purchased, it was determined that over 74,070 gallons of taxable whiskey would be produced.  No excise tax has ever been paid by Necaise.  He therefore owes the ATF Tax and Trade Bureau $898,691.63 in Federal Excise Tax and the Mississippi Department of Revenue $369,752.50 in State Excise Tax.

U.S. Attorney Hurst commended the incredible work of the agents of the Enforcement Office of the Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Mississippi Department of Revenue and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Forearms and Explosives, who cooperated in investigating the case.  Assistant United States Attorney Annette Williams is prosecuting the case.

Updated July 13, 2020