Contact: Stephen Sellers
Six ginseng dealers cited for illegal sale of native forest herb
Charges were filed and search warrants were served today on six ginseng dealers for infractions including failing to obtain certification for out-of-state shipments of the forest herb and falsifying records.
Indiana conservation officers conducted a two-year investigation that resulted in charges against Mike Bell, 47, Connersville, Ind.; Brent Duncan, 34, Bloomington, Ind.; Phil Welty, 50, Wabash, Ind.; Russel Lynch, 53, Seelyville, Ind.; Qiyue (Sonny) Suo, 43, Louisville, Ky., and Solid Gold Health, a health food store in Fon du Lac, Wisc.
Exporting ginseng that has not been certified is a class A misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to a $5,000. Also, violating Indiana’s ginseng law and regulations could result in suspension of a dealer’s license for up to five years.
Ginseng is a million-dollar a year business in Indiana, which is the third leading state in exports. Ginseng harvesting and sales are monitored and regulated by state and federal government agencies to prevent over harvesting of a popular native plant species that is used in medicinal products sold worldwide.
"Indiana has a ginseng harvest season and other conservation measures so that ginseng will forever remain an important part of our forests," said John Bacone, director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources division of nature preserves. "The regulations allow for harvest only after the ginseng seeds have ripened, so that the plant can continue to reproduce naturally in Indiana forests."
Twenty-three of Indiana’s 42 registered dealers reported in 2002 that they purchased 3,192 pounds of wild ginseng, paying an average of $325 per pound. It takes about 350 plants to make a pound.
In Indiana, ginseng may be harvested on private property between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 with the permission of the landowner. It is not lawful to harvest ginseng on a state park or other property managed by the DNR.
Ginseng may be purchased for resale and exported between Sept. 1 and March 31 by dealers who have a license from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Wild Indiana ginseng is used mostly in the Far East.
Below is a summary of charges filed:
Mike Bell, 47, Connersville, Ind.
Brent Duncan, 34, Bloomington, Ind.
Phil Welty, 50, Wabash, Ind.
Russel Lynch, 53, Seelyville, Ind.
Qiyue (Sonny) Suo, 43, Louisville, Ky.
Solid Gold Health, Fon du Lac, Wisc.
Click Here To Return To The Previous Page