Authorities find canoers with ginseng on Lake Monroe

Denny Colwell
Ginseng grower Denny Colwell shows the rings that develop on older ginseng roots Sept. 2, 2015, on his property in New Bethlehem, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

NASHVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana conservation officers are pursing charges of illegal possession of ginseng after stopping a canoe on Lake Monroe during the weekend.

Officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on Sunday initially stopped the canoe for appearing to not possess a lake-use permit. During the stop, officers said, Kristina Curry, 33, covered something behind her in the canoe when she saw them approach. Eventually, the conservation officers said they discovered Curry and the passenger, Matthew Ross, 33, attempting to hide ginseng.

Curry and Ross admitted to digging for the ginseng on state property and having more at their campsite and home, the DNR said in a news release issued Wednesday. The pair consented to a search of their vehicle, their campsite in Paynetown State Recreation Area near Bloomington and their home in Bloomington.

Overall, seven ginseng plants, two ginseng roots and other various roots were located and seized as evidence, the release said.

Ginseng can be legally harvested from Sept. 1-Dec. 31 and must be sold to a licensed ginseng dealer or disposed of prior to March 31 of the following year. It is illegal to dig Ginseng on state property, the DNR said.

Curry and Ross were initially charged with possession of ginseng out of season and digging ginseng on state property, the release said.

Ginseng roots are believed to provide an energy boost and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, among other health benefits.

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