What started off as a mystery, has now ended with the victim in handcuffs.

This is the type of story that you'd expect to read about in books or see in the movies. But believe it or not, it's happening right here in your backyard.

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Recently, multiple police agencies were sent on the search for a missing man from Delaware County. The report originally came in back on August 31st, when his family said he returned to their house.

Several days later, a friend of the missing man noticed his vehicle parked on a private logging road in the Town of Middletown. Curious as to why the vehicle was parked there, the friend quickly reported it to the police.

Photo by Can Aslan on Unsplash
Photo by Can Aslan on Unsplash

The Delaware County Sherriff's Office sent a K9 unit to the location, where they eventually tracked and found the missing man. Strangely enough, he was in perfect health.

What surprised the deputies was what the man had stuffed into two one-gallon bags beside him.

South Korean Farmers Rely On Ginseng
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American Ginseng

Ginseng is a rare and very endangered plant species found in the wild. Growing primarily in North America, the plant is commonly sought after for herbal medicine. Ginseng has long been used as an energy, health and immunity booster.

It is illegal to harvest on private and state properties in New York State without permission or a proper permit. Wild ginseng harvesting season is technically from September 1st through November 30, but doing so on someone else's property is completely off limits.

Credit - NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Credit - NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Back to Delaware County

In the instance with the missing man, he claims that he received permission from the landowner to take the ginseng years ago. The landowners say otherwise, telling Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO) they never gave that permission.

In the end, the ECO's seized 41 ginseng roots from the man. He was then charged with Harvesting Ginseng without Permission, Trespassing, and Petit Larceny. All charges are being handled by the Town of Middletown Court.

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