An N.C. man will spend a year in prison and be fined $50,000 for illegally selling the medicinal herb ginseng, officials announced Tuesday.
Federal authorities say Howard William Ledford, 55, is a “ginseng dealer” who admitted in November to selling over $100,000 worth of wild ginseng to a woman in Georgia. Ledford is from Hayesville, a small town near the Nantahala and Chattahoochee National Forests.
Chiu Hung Lo, also known as Sherry, pleaded guilty at the same time to receiving Ledford's ginseng and will be sentenced soon.
In North Carolina, it's illegal to ship ginseng out of the state without a certificate of export, which Ledford did not have.
The arrests and pleas are the result of a three-year investigation conducted to ferret out illegal ginseng and bear part sales in the Appalachian regions, authorities said.