A federal judge has ordered a La Crosse store to pay $100,000 in penalties for violating a federal poaching law and to pull out of the wild ginseng trade for two years in what a Wisconsin conservation officer calls a landmark case.
The Wisconsin DNR says, in a press release, the case involved the August conviction of Wiebke Produce Incorporated, also known as Wiebke Fur and Trading Company. The store also has a store in Eitzen, Minnesota in Houston County.
Warden Ed McCann of La Crosse said the case demonstrates Wisconsin's commitment to its valuable wild ginseng and to stopping poachers who trespass to steal from private properties.
McCann says the business knowingly purchased wild ginseng from individuals the business knew needed to have harvest licenses...and falsified official documents to transport that product across state lines which is a violation of federal law.
McCann said he started his investigation of the Wiebke operation in 2011 and it involved reviewing records from 2009-to 2011. It also involved numerous interviews, search warrants and the seizure of a ginseng export shipment from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
The Minnesota DNR and the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service also helped out in the investigation.