Park Rangers made another arrest of individuals steeling native plants on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. As you read this entry from today's National Park Service Morning Report, note that this was not the first time at least one of these individuals has been caught thieving plants and that the other two share additional criminal histories.
I found the connection of criminal activity between natural resource thieves and other violations to be a common thread. Most poachers that we charged had criminal histories ranging from attempted murder, assault, and drug trafficking, to bad checks and fraud. In a number of instances we uncovered evidence of these other crimes while investigating individuals for resource law violations in the park.
Someone who is uninhibited enough to commit crimes against others will often look to the presumed easy dollar to be made in the illegal wildlife and plant trade.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Three Arrested For Ginseng Poaching
On the afternoon of September 29th, rangers saw a suspicious vehicle and three individuals in an area known for ginseng poaching. As the rangers approached, they began throwing items into the woods and into their vehicle. Upon investigation, the rangers found that the trio had collectively dug up 350 ginseng roots. All three were arrested and taken before the federal magistrate, with a pending court date in December. One of them had been arrested two years previously by one of the same rangers for the same offense. One of the others is presently on probation and also had outstanding warrants on him. The third, although not wanted, also had a criminal history. [Tim Francis, District Ranger]
Employees in our National Parks deal with these career criminals regularly. For me it became just another part of a Park Ranger's Life.