West Virginia police arrested 11 people and seized more than 190 pounds of dry ginseng, a popular energy herb, that they say was harvested a little too early.
The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources does allow the native herb to be harvested but they confiscated what they estimate as $180,000 of the completely legal plant because the people who harvested it did so just a few days before the “ginseng digging season,” which runs from September 1st through November 30th.
When the police raided the “ginseng bandits”, they also confiscated $30,000 in unrelated cash, which they decided now belongs to the State.
Asian cultures have long enjoyed the ginseng herb as an energy tonic. The American variety is highly valued in China because it is considered less potent and thus suitable for daily use.
Police did not say exactly when they believed the wild ginseng was harvested, but they did say that they believe it was before the September 1st starting date for legal harvesting.
In addition to the ginseng and money, police also say they found marijuana and guns, which they also confiscated.
(Article by Seng, H.H.; image via local WVVA)