Three Area Men Charged With Illegally Harvesting Ginseng
Three Northeast Iowa men have pleaded guilty to illegally harvesting wild ginseng, in 2 separate cases.
58 year old Gregg Latham of Oelwein and 49 year old Dustin Millard of Strawberry Point, encountered a state conservation officer while out in the woods on September 11th of 2020.
Latham was in his vehicle, serving as the driver and lookout for Millard, who was in some nearby timber, illegally scratching and digging wild ginseng roots.
Ginseng harvesting is regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and possession of any part of the plant on state owned land is against the law.
Millard walked out of the woods, dropping the ginseng, with plans to go back and retrieve it later. However, the DNR found it first. After a search of the suspects' homes,
Millard was charged with 112 counts of unlawfully harvesting ginseng from state managed lands, theft in the 5th degree, trespassing, and other charges.
Latham was charged with 112 counts of aiding and abetting in the harvest, theft in the 5th degree, littering, trespassing and other charges.
Both men pleaded guilty to 24 violations, theft, and littering, and were fined $5,700 in penalties.
Another Northeast Iowa man, 34 year old Mathew Wilkinson of Independence, was charged with illegally harvesting ginseng. Wilkinson had in his possession, 10 wild ginseng roots which totaled 3 ounces. He allegedly dug the roots from a Buchanan County Conservation board property.
That investigation began on September 29th.
Wilkinson pleaded guilty to five charges of failing to retain the entire plant while transporting ginseng root. He will be fined a total of $975 for the five counts.
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