Missouri couple sentenced for illegal ginseng operation

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A southwest Missouri couple will spend a year on probation for their involvement in an illegal ginseng operation.

On Tuesday, a court sentenced 77-year-old Kermit Schofield and his wife, 73-year-old Sandy Schofield for bringing ginseng over illegally from Arkansas to Theodosia, a town of about 250 people near the Missouri-Arkansas border.

Federal prosecutors said that between June 2013 and August 2015 the Schofields illegally bought more than 100 pounds of ginseng in Arkansas. The couple purchased the ginseng outside the permitted time frame for buying ginseng in Missouri, and they knew it was illegal to transport ginseng out of Arkansas without a state certification.

As part of the sentence, the Schofields agreed to pay $65,000 in restitution along with a $5,000 fine.