Last week, West Virginia natural resources police said they seized 190 pounds of ginseng, which they claim is illegal because it was not harvested and licensed under the required conditions.
According to police, 11 arrests have also been made in connection with the allegedly illegal ginseng.
The state managed to plunder more than $180,000 worth of ginseng from unsuspecting farmers, according to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Furthermore, they also took $30,000 in cash and a wide range of private property.
The ginseng bust was allegedly the result of a year-long investigation.
As Lt. Woodrow Brogan of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources said, officers also seized multiple guns and an undisclosed amount of illegal drugs. The drugs and weapons, however, were reportedly not associated with the investigation; instead, the ginseng is reported to be the only reason police carried out the raid.
In a press release, Brogan said that recent years have seen “an increase in people wanting to make a ‘fast buck’ by digging and selling as much ginseng as possible, both in season and out. Much of that increased activity includes unlicensed dealers trading illegal pills for ginseng root.”
As reported by the Free Thought Project, possession of ginseng roots is prohibited from Apr. 1 through Aug. 31 without a weight-receipt from the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
Furthermore, ginseng farmers are only allowed to sell to vendors who have been licensed by the state.