Iowa Dealer Gets Probation for Ginseng Conspiracy

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By Ben Hoppenworth

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa ginseng dealer has been sentenced to two years of probation for conspiring to buy and sell illegally harvested ginseng.

A federal judge on Friday ordered Jeffrey Sargent of Lamont to stay out of the ginseng trade during his probation.

Prosecutors say Sargent in 2010 and 2011 bought ginseng from sellers who he knew that obtained the medicinal root illegally and without the required state permits.

He then sold the ginseng to a fur and trading company in Minnesota, obtaining $10,000 in those two years.

Sargent pleaded guilty to the felony conspiracy charge under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources regulates the harvest and export of ginseng and helped investigate the case.

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