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Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Issues Warrant for Man Poaching Ginseng

By Nathan Ham

A call to the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office about a trespasser turned into an investigation about possible ginseng poaching in Todd.

According a press release from the sheriff’s office, a call reported a man trespassing on private property in the Todd community on Tuesday, August 7. After calling law enforcement, the landowner confronted the trespasser who has been poaching ginseng on the owner’s property.

The suspect then fled on foot prior to the officer’s arrival after throwing down the ginseng roots that he had dug out. The suspect then abandoned his vehicle nearby which was later seized by Watauga County Deputies.

Following an investigation by Detective Matt Rollins of the Criminal Investigation Unit, a felony warrant for the attempted larceny of ginseng was issued for Mathew Scott Miller.

According to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman, Miller, 32, and his attorney were cooperating with the investigation and was scheduled to turn himself at the magistrate’s office on Aug. 30.

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office recognizes the hard work and time that goes into cultivating this local, unique agricultural product. Watauga Deputies are committed to enforcing the laws, which prohibit ginseng poaching on private land without written permission. The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office will continue to assist local landowners and ginseng growers as well as work hand in hand with our local North Carolina Agricultural Cooperative Extension to catch poachers.