A man was arrested over the weekend for 19 counts of selling untaxed whiskey at a local flea market on W Dumplin Valley Road in Kodak along with 19 pints of moonshine with a street value $190.
George W. Lawson, 5th District Constable was at the Great Smoky Crafts Fair flea market last Sunday at 3:10 P.M. as a guest like everyone else looking at the many items for sale when, “I went by a fruit stand and a person behind the table was asking if anyone wanted fruit,” Lawson told The Herald.
“I overheard the seller asking two men if they wanted some of the finest moonshine – so I followed they guys behind the table like I also was interested. As soon as he produced the fruit jars of moonshine I identified myself as Constable Lawson and told him he was under arrest for selling untaxed whiskey – (moonshine).”
“He told me that he wasn’t really selling the moonshine, he was selling the Tennessee fruit, Hilly Billy Fruit – Ensley called it,” said the Constable. “I contacted Sevierville Police and had Officer John Turner transport the man identified as Larry William Ensley of 1810 Olympia Court, Sevierville, before the magistrate Glenn Turner who after discovering Ensley’s extensive criminal history determined the bail set at $50,000.00,” stated Constable Lawson.
Ensley, had a permanent booth in back of the Flea market, according to reports, has a shaded past with criminal activity ranging from grand theft, burglary, carrying canceled weapon, assault with a deadly weapon, contributing to the delinquency to a minor, possession of controlled substance, assault with a firearm, and other offenses along with prison terms.
According to Lawson it was an uneventful arrest.
The 66-years old, 6’ 2” Ensley with blue eyes told Lawson the whiskey came from Kentucky.
“When I first took office in September of 1974 we were still finding moonshine and moonshine stills and it declined rather rapidly – it’s more the except than the rule – it requires a lot of work and most people are too lazy to do the work because drugs seem to be an easier way to make illegal money,” stated General Al Schmutzer. “That’s gotten to be the trend – putting apples or fruit into the moonshire to give it a different taste. We will be prosecuting this like any other case that’s against the law.”
“Back in the 70s moonshine was the root of all evil – it was like making a meth lab bust today.” Stated Lawson. “I recall back in the 70s we charged this fella with moonshine – 20 gallons, but when we got to court, part of the evidence was gone. The bottoms of the plastic containers had disintegrated in a few of them,” recalled Lawson.
Constable Lawson has been in law enforcement for 33 years and a constable for 22 years. The 5th district covers Sevierville and New Center. In some of Lawson’s past, he has been credited with saving Sheriff Carman Townswend’s life when they got to a residence where a woman had made a call that was set up to kill the sheriff.
“My first term as a constable I confiscated more drugs than any other constable in Sevier County,” Lawson said proudly.