La Crosse company sentenced for ginseng poaching - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse company sentenced for ginseng poaching

An example of wild ginseng An example of wild ginseng

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW/AP) - A La Crosse based company that pleaded guilty earlier this year to buying and selling illegally harvested wild ginseng has agreed to pay $100,000 and accept a two-year ban on transactions involving the gnarled root.

Wiebke Produce Inc., which is also known as the Wiebke Fur & Trading Company, has stores in La Crosse and Eitzen, Minnesota.

The company reached a deal in August to violating an anti-poaching law.

During a plea hearing Thursday in federal court in Madison, company official Thomas Wiebke acknowledged that the company repeatedly bought wild ginseng that was harvested in Wisconsin without a license.

Wiebke received a $50,000 fine and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution in the plea arrangement.

The company said Friday it planned to provide a statement responding to the plea hearing.

Ginseng is prized in China, Korea and other Asian countries. Consumers say the bitter root eases stress, fatigue and insomnia.

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