Wheel-Chaired Indo-Canadian Busted For Running Big Moonshine Business From Newton Home

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Sixty-five-year-old Harnek Singh Poonia Poonia was arrested after police found five large barrels containing about 200 gallons of home-made spirits in his home. He had allegedly been brewing it in a trailer in the back of the house and allegedly selling the “desi” brew out of his basement window.

By R. Paul Dhillon

SURREY – An elderly wheel-chaired Indo-Canadian man was busted for running a big moonshine (home-made liquor) business from his home in the Newton area of Surrey.

Although police has not released his name, LINK sources have identified him as 65-year-old Harnek Singh Poonia who lives in the 12500 block of 70 Avenue, from where he was taken into custody.

Poonia was arrested after police found five large barrels containing about 200 gallons of home-made spirits in his home. He had allegedly been brewing it in a trailer in the back of the house and allegedly selling the “desi” brew out of his basement window.

Sources have told the LINK that Poonia used to run the illegal liquor business out of the Surrey Sikh seniors centre located in the Guru Nanak Sikh temple premises but was forced to stop that operation when the Sikh Youth came into power. Liquor is forbidden under Sikh code of conduct and the current Gurdwara administration follows the conduct much more religiously and do not tolerate liquor on temple premises

The Source told the LINK that it was this home-based sale of illegal liquor that got Poonia caught as neighbours upset with his conduct reported him to police, prompting the surveillance and the search of the property on Wednesday just before 10 a.m.

Just before 10:00 am on September 14th, investigators located 5 large barrels containing approximately 200 gallons of “moonshine” in various stages of fermentation in a trailer at the rear of the property. A search within this family residence also located approximately 30 containers of distilled spirits.

Poonia is facing several charges, including production and packaging of spirits, possessing a still, sale of alcohol and possession of bulk alcohol. -Production and Packaging of Spirits

The City of Surrey bylaw department is also “actively engaged” in the investigation, addressing bylaw infractions, the RCMP release states.

This investigation is ongoing and further charges under the Criminal Code of Canada are being considered.

• Moonshine is any distilled spirit made in an unlicensed still.  As with all distilled spirits, yeast ferments a sugar source to produce alcohol; the alcohol is then extracted through by means of distillation.

• Because of its illegal nature, spirit (moonshine) is rarely aged in barrels like proper whisky, and it sometimes contains impurities and off flavors. On rare occasions, it may contain dangerous levels of toxic alcohols such as methanol. The off flavors may come from improper mashing, fermentation and/or distillation, and unsuitable storage containers.