Ginseng complaint turns into huge marijuana bust

Pending charges for illegally harvesting wild ginseng

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A total of 114 marijuana plants were discovered by local law enforcement officers last Thursday, Aug. 31. They were growing in the woods surrounding the Springbrook home of August Schmidt, 59. Approximately five pounds of illegally harvested wild ginseng was discovered drying in Schmidt’s residence, according to authorities. - Photos from Washburn County Sheriff’s Dept.

Suspect tries to outrun law enforcement in vehicle

SHELL LAKE – A ginseng-related complaint to the Department of Natural Resources turned in to a marijunana bust that involved 114 marijuana plants and five pounds of illegally-harvested ginseng.

August Smith – photos from Washburn County Sheriff’s Office

According to a news release from Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden, sheriff’s deputies and DNR wardens conducted a search at W2150 Spring Lake Road in the Town of Springbrook Thursday morning, Aug. 31, after being tipped off to an illegal harvest of ginseng via a message on the DNR hotline.

A Polk County man who had secured permission to harvest ginseng on Town of Springbrook lands arrived at one of his ginseng locations to discover it had been harvested before the season.

On Thursday evening DNR warden Pete Carlson led a search to find the suspect, August Schmidt, 59, conducting surveillance on the Schmidt’s car.  He attempted contact with Schmidt as Schmidt exited the woods wearing muddy camo clothes and carrying a heavy backpack. The suspect was able to elude Carlson and left the scene at a high rate of speed. Carlson was unable to run back to his truck in time to follow Schmidt’s vehicle.

Wardens Hagen, Loining, Peters, and a Washburn County deputy attempted contact with the suspect at his residence in Washburn County. While at the residence, officers discovered several marihuana plants growing near the suspect’s residence.

photo from Washburn County Sheriff’s Office

Officers obtained a search warrant and a subsequent search of the residence uncovered 114 marijuana plants growing in the surrounding woods, in the residence and around five pounds of illegally harvested wild ginseng drying in the residence.

A total of 114 marijuana plants were discovered by local law enforcement officers last Thursday, Aug. 31. They were growing in the woods surrounding the Springbrook home of August Schmidt, 59. Approximately five pounds of illegally harvested wild ginseng was discovered drying in Schmidt’s residence, according to authorities. – Photos from Washburn County Sheriff’s Dept.

Schmidt appeared in the Washburn County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon, Aug. 31. He is charged with felony manufacturing of THC, felony possession of THC and possession of drug paraphernalia. Schmidt was released on a $500 Signature Bond. Further charges may be forthcoming and the DNR will be pursing obstructing charges and charges as it relates to the illegal harvest ginseng. – Gary King with information from Washburn County Sheriff’s Dept.

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