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Bryson City men sentenced to stealing ginseng

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BRYSON CITY, NC (AP) -- Two Swain County men have been
sentenced for taking valuable plants from the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Friday that brothers Billy
Joe and Jeffrey Hurley of Bryson City pleaded guilty to possessing
11 pounds of freshly dug American ginseng. The brothers were
arrested in October as part of an ongoing investigation.

Billy Joe Hurley was found with more than 500 roots and was
given a 75-day jail sentence. Prosecutors say Jeffrey Hurley had
250 roots and was sentenced to two weeks in jail. Both men were
also fined.

Rangers say dried wild ginseng roots can bring up to $800 per
pound. Older, larger roots are the most valuable.

Biologists say most of the roots confiscated from the Hurleys
were between 10 and 40 years old.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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