A resident of Birch River, West Virginia, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Columbus, Ohio, on charges of receipt, acquisition or purchase of illegally transported protected plants and falsification of records, Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio announced.
The six-count indictment named Tony Lee Coffman, 59, as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment presented to the court, Coffman received, acquired or purchased American ginseng roots that had been illegally transported in interstate commerce from Ohio and falsified records relating to the purchase of Ohio ginseng.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of five years in prison per count, a fine of $20,000 per count, or both. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Senior Trial Attorney Adam Cullman of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Pakiz for the Southern District of Ohio are prosecuting this case.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources conducted the investigation.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.