On Wednesday, August 24, agents for the U.S. government executed four search warrants on Gibson Guitar‘s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The raids forced Gibsonto cease manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day while armed agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service executed the search warrants for ebony and rosewood that was imported from India.
The federal officials claim that Gibson violated the Lacey Act, which stipulates that a company cannot import wood in a manner that’s against the laws of the country the wood is coming from. However, Gibson has complied with Indian law and no concerns have been raised by the Indian government.
“Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC-certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.”
Juszkiewicz believes that the Justice Department is bullying Gibson without filing charges. This is the second time Gibson has been raided by the federal government (the first was in 2009), yet no charges have been filed and the materials confiscated on both occasions remain in federal hands.
“Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights,” Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of any wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.”
Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, and banjos.
The Gibson Les Paul guitar is the best-selling guitar of all time and bears the name of the late, great Les Paul.