Southern California Man Arrested for Making, Selling Moonshine Out of Banning Home

Banning police found more than they were looking for Saturday when serving a bench warrant for James Jonathan Collins-- a convicted felon-- at his SoCal home.

A Southern California man was locked up in a local jail Sunday-- suspected of brewing and selling the illegal liquor moonshine out of his house.

James Jonathan Collins, 47, was nabbed by the Banning Police Department on Saturday when they went to his home to serve a bench warrant for a violation of probation charge and got a whiff of a unique smell, according to police and court records.

"While placing Collins under arrest for the warrant, Officers smelled a strong odor coming from an enclosed portion of the garage," a press release from the police department says.  "Further investigation discovered an active working Moonshine still."

Banning Police Chief Leonard Purvis tells Banning-Beaumont Patch this is something his department has never come across, at least not under his watch the last seven years.

"It was just very surprising; we haven’t come across this; at least I’ve never come across something like this in my career,” Purvis told Patch.

Made famous during the Prohibition Era of the United States, moonshine is often made with relatively few ingredients, and is highly flammable-- something of particular concern to the local authorities.

"What my main concern is, is the possible negative effects that could have taken place," Purvis said.  "...the threat to the people in that location and to the neighbors, as well depending on how much is being stored, and the flammability.”

CalFire did respond to the location King Street, near West Wilson and 8th Streets, when the still was found, and "rendered [it] safe," the press release added.

As of the publication of this article, police were still investigating several things, including how many people may have been involved in this operation and how long it had been going on, Purvis said.

Jail booking records indicate that Collins was booked on charges of selling liquor without a license, and possession of paraphernalia.  He was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, and was being held in lieu of $2,500 bail.

According to court records, Collins was on probation for June 2012 convictions of possession of stolen property and possession of controlled substances.

CalFire crews dismantled the moonshine still, according to police reports.


Washy November 28, 2012 at 11:31 PM
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Homemade-Hooch-Lands-Banning-Man-in-Jail-181203211.html Actually you cannot it is against federal law
Ellen Carr November 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM
I agree, Charlie!
Ken November 30, 2012 at 04:42 AM
...and if you going to distill for personal consumption...for god sakes just get you a a crockpot and some bulk cheap alcoholic beverage....... See the still that blew up in Nevada yrs ago (Old West) and burned down 27 blocks of a City. (details hazy as drinkin' 'shine) source."Moonshiners" last night
Ron McClellan January 16, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Wow, a BUNCH of myths and misconceptions here, heheh. Actually, that still couldn't make more than a quart, to a quart and a half of shine per run, not sure why police would be thinking that others might be involved, like some sort of crime ring or whatever. Most of the "bad reputation" of shine is related to the materials used to build a still, and that still appears to be made of "safe" materials. As long as it was soldered together with lead-free solder, which it probably was, that product is probably for for ya than even regular store bought beer, from a "poison" standpoint. As for the fire danger, that is largely a myth too, for that type of still. For starters, it's clearly heated with electric, which right there reduces the fire danger substantially. And really, there is little likelihood that a still that tiny could possibly create enough fumes to cause an explosion, and further, it's essentially a pot still and therefore there is NO pressure to build up . . .a common misconception folks get from watching Hollywood movies. The "dark stuff" in the photo may not even be related to the shine, but if it is, it's probably the mash. A little darker than usual, but he could have been getting ready to run off a batch of rum, from blackstrap molasses or something As for the "why would someone drink that poison" stuff, well, because if the guy has even half a brain, what he is "shinin" probably contains less "poison" than many perfectly legal whiskeys. Generally ya
Douglas Andrew Hanlon May 26, 2013 at 04:00 PM
ron is right....the ones that need to be arrested are the purveyors of store brand whiskey and vodka along with the high alcohol drinks in the loco type branding.....those are far more poisonous that home made hooch made with some rudimentary knowledge of distilling.beer and wine legal and 18% plus distilling illegal when you are consuming the same thing...enthanol?who are we protecting ? large distillers and the government revenue from the taxes they get from them? Funny how people vote for those that want bigger government yet fail to see the reduction of freedom that results.Prior to prohibition you could make you own...the rock of fredom is being chipped away .the reconstruction of which is nearly impossible with out blood and turmoil.


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