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Indiana Conservation Officers have released the names of some of those who were among 25 southern Indiana residents arrested following multiple investigations into illegal ginseng harvesting.

That includes a recent bust in Orange County that included a seizure of almost 15 pounds of ginseng.

After receiving a call through the DNR anonymous TIP line, ICOs Jeff Milner and Dennis Talley seized nearly 15 lbs. of illegal ginseng on August 24.

Taking ginseng out of season is considered theft, not to mention trespassing to do so.

Four suspects from Orange Co. are facing multiple charges relating to the case, which is ongoing.

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After receiving a call through the DNR anonymous TIP line, ICOs Jeff Milner and Dennis Talley seized nearly 15 lbs. of illegal ginseng on August 24.
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Taking ginseng out of season is considered theft, not to mention trespassing to do so.

Indiana residents are allow to harvest the root from Sept. 1 – Dec 31 of current year. Harvesters can legally dig wild ginseng. Harvesters do not need a license to dig ginseng nor sell ginseng to a licensed dealer.

However, you cannot sell ginseng until Sept. 1 of current year to March 31 of next year.

Dealers can legally purchase ginseng from harvesters.

According to the DNR, when reselling ginseng purchased directly from harvesters, the dealer must fill out a form certifying the ginseng’s origin and weight. A copy of the certification must accompany the ginseng when it is shipped.

During the past month, conservation officers targeted ginseng violations in Operational District Eight, and arrested or cited individuals in Clark, Harrison, Martin, Orange, Scott, and Washington Counties.

Acting on tips, conservation officers executed multiple search warrants and seized several pounds of illegal ginseng. Additionally, several illegal drugs were seized and a stolen handgun was recovered.

Indiana Conservation Officers utilized their K-9 units to track suspects and locate evidence, in addition to conducting surveillance throughout these investigations. Several leads were developed and investigations are continuing.

Facing charges in Lawrence County:

David Pittman, 56, Paoli, theft. In addition, Pittman is charged with theft and possession of ginseng during closed season in Orange County.

Facing charges in Orange County:

  • Derek Durden, 40, Hardinsburg, possession of ginseng during closed season.
  • Kyle Sneed, 34, Paoli, possession of ginseng during closed season.
  • Dustin Walton, 33, Hardinsburg, possession of ginseng during closed season, theft.
  • Parker Mullins Jr. 18, Hardinsburg, possession of ginseng during closed season.
  • William Yockey, 37, Eckerty, possession of ginseng during closed season, resisting law enforcement.
  • Michele Reitz, 43, French Lick, possession of ginseng during closed season.

Facing charges in Martin County:

Starla Enlow, 32, Shoals, possession of ginseng during closed season.

Facing charges in Washington County:

  • Randy A. Stidham, 44, Austin, possession of ginseng during closed season.
  • Randy L. Stidham, 26, Austin, possession of ginseng during closed season.
  • George Stidham, 68, Austin, possession of ginseng during closed season.

Facing charges in Harrison County:

  • James McCurry, 43, Hardinsburg, possession of ginseng during closed season, theft.
  • Devon McCurry, 19, Hardinsburg, possession of ginseng during closed season, theft.
  • Daniel Arnold, 30, Salem, possession of ginseng during closed season, theft.

Wild ginseng is a plant sought for its root, valued anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per pound, which then is sold to licensed dealers, who often export it to other countries. Legal ginseng harvest season runs from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, and harvest restrictions also apply.

Citizens are urged to report natural resource violations by calling Indiana Conservation Officers’ Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536, or the anonymous tip line at 1-800-TIPIDNR.

Visit https://secure.in.gov/dnr/naturepreserve/8235.htm for more information on ginseng regulations.