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Submitted by Cacky Catlett on Thu, 11/03/2011 - 8:56pm.

BRYSON CITY, N.C. (AP) -- Four men from western North Carolina have been sentenced to jail time for illegally harvesting ginseng roots from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said Thursday that the four cases were unrelated. Two of the men were from Cherokee, one from Canton and the other from Bryson City. They were sentenced to terms ranging from 15 days to 120 days in jail. One of the four was found by park rangers not only with ginseng roots, but with a list of places to harvest in the national park and newspaper clippings about previous illegal harvesting incidents. Authorities seized 545 ginseng roots from the men and replanted the viable roots. Tompkins says poaching is so widespread that the park's plants can barely reproduce. (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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