by Sam Clanton
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An Ozark County couple pleads guilty in federal court to illegally trafficking in wild American ginseng.
Seventy-six-year-old Kermit Schofield and his wife, 73-year-old Sandy Schofield, both of Theodosia, admitted they purchased about 115 pounds of ginseng from sources in Arkansas, knowing it was illegal to transport the medicinal plant root out of the state without required certification.
They also admitted to falsifying records related to these purchases, which occurred outside the permitted time frame for purchasing ginseng in Missouri.
The Schofields operated a business from their home, selling ginseng, blood root, Echinacea and other roots and herbs.
Under federal statutes, the Schofields are each subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole.
This case was investigated by the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation.