Two NC men sentenced to jail for illegally harvesting ginseng

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Two N.C. men have been sentenced to jail after being caught with three pounds of ginseng.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Daniel Mizell, 26, and Derek Vann Whitson, 33, got lost in the Asheville Watershed bordering the Blue Ridge Parkway in October 2013.

They were found the next day with 147 roots of freshly dug ginseng, officials say.

American ginseng is on the list of the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species, and people need a permit from the government to collect ginseng roots in national forests. Permits are not available in national park lands like the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mizell of Green Mountain was sentenced to 30 days in jail for engaging in business on the Blue Ridge Parkway and entering a closed area on the parkway during the government shutdown last October.

Whitson of Mars Hill was sentenced earlier to 90 days in jail for conspiring to harvest ginseng,

Ginseng, a cornerstone of herbal medicine, has long been used for a host of ailments by people who dry the root and chew it or use it to make tea. Repeated poaching has severely reduced the plant’s population.

Source: Charlotte Observer 

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