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MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. – Indiana Department of Natural Resources law enforcement is sending a warning tonight to home and property owners to be on the lookout for ginseng thieves.

They say many are trading the plant root for drugs.

“This could be dug out of the woods with very little overhead and then it can be sold, and they have cash money in hand,” Conservation Officer Lt. Angela Goldman said.

In Indiana, it’s illegal to harvest ginseng out of season but people still do it. They are also stealing it.

“We take calls from landowners who are finding people trespassing on their property and we are doing lots of patrols at state properties this time of year specially targeting those people that are harvesting ginseng illegally,” Lt. Goldman said.

The plant roots are a hot commodity. Lt. Goldman says a pound could sell for $600.00.

Lt. Goldman says if you see strangers on your property they could be looking for ginseng.

If so, she says they are trespassing and you should call police.

“Understand there are people out there stealing it from you, so if you see someone on your property or catch someone on a trail cam this time of year and they don’t appear to be hunting it’s very likely they are stealing your ginseng from you,” Lt. Goldman said.

The legal harvest season starts this Sunday, September 1st.

Learn more about ginseng here.