Machine Gun Weilding Federal Agents Storm Gibson Guitar Factory

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US agents raid Gibson Guitar over ebony

By David Gelles in New York
August 28, 2011 4:55 pm

Federal agents last week stormed the Gibson Guitar factories in the Tennessee cities of Nashville and Memphis, confiscating pallets of exotic woods, computer equipment and several guitars.

The raids were part of an ongoing investigation into Gibson’s procurement of the materials it uses to construct its iconic instruments, which includes the Les Paul, the best-selling guitar of all time.

Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson chief executive, said the justice department was misguided and that his company was fully compliant with all US and international laws.

“Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of any wrongdoing,” he said. “We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.”

The US Department of Justice, which conducted the raids, declined to comment.

But in an affidavit used to obtain the search warrants, US Fish and Wildlife Service agent John Rayfield said the investigation began after a shipment of Indian ebony was detained by customs officers in Dallas, Texas, in June.

According to the affidavit, the ebony included in the shipment was illegal under a US law that bars the transport or sale of endangered woods and plants.

The shipment also misidentified the final destination for the woods, failing to name Gibson as the buyer.

No criminal charges have been filed.

Mr Juszkiewicz said Gibson, a private company with less than $500m in annual sales, was struggling to continue operating.

“We’re trying to get back up in those areas where we can,” he said. “We had the seizure of raw materials and it will take us some time to replace them. They hit all our factories.”

He also said that the 107-year-old company works closely with suppliers and advocacy groups to procure sustainable materials.

In recent years, Gibson has hired 600 new workers as the US economy struggled to add jobs.

This is the second time that Gibson factories have been raided. In 2009, the company was investigated for allegedly using illegally imported woods from Madagascar but no criminal charges were pursued.

Mr Juszkiewicz said he believed the justice department might be interpreting an Indian law to suggest that Indian wood must be finished in India.

But he added that the confiscated wood was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which works to protect threatened woodlands.

Some in the industry said it appeared that Gibson was being singled out.

Gulab Gidwani, president of Exotic Woods Company, which supplies woods to Gibson and other guitar makers, said: “There’s nothing unusual about what Gibson imports.”
Must've mistaken that Indian wood for evil al Qaeda wood...:icon_cool


A Bigly Bad Hombre.
Maybe they're just angry over the god-awful-ugly Firebird X.


Reading up on it a bit more, Martin uses the same kind of wood (and ivory)but hasn't been raided.


Registered User
Further proof that our country is, in fact, not broke. Anyone wasting a dime on policing the type of wood used in guitars should be ashamed of themselves.

A bit of a stretch to connect the two, but a good point anyway.
DOJ Raids Gibson Guitars over Alleged Environmental Infractions, but Mum’s Still the Word on ‘Fast and Furious’
by AWR Hawkins

On August 24, 2011, Obama’s DOJ sent agents armed with fully automatic weapons into the Gibson Guitar factory in Memphis, TN. The scene was certainly a unsettling one for Gibson employees, as the company had been given no advanced warning that Obama’s jackbooted thugs were going to march into a place where people were unarmed, pull machines guns on them, and confiscate portions of their guitar making materials.

To be honest, when I first read the story, I thought maybe Gibson Guitars had done something terrible like sell 2,500 guitars to straw purchasers who were then going to do something crazy, like illegally transporting the instruments out of the country and into the hands of Mexican cartel members south of the border.
But alas, as the details of the raid have come out it’s apparent that the reasons behind it were far less substantial: in fact, the reasons behind it seem to be flimsier than flimsy.
This is because the reason provided for raiding Gibson and confiscating half a million dollars worth of guitar making material is an alleged violation of environmental standards on Gibson’s part. (The DOJ is alleging Gibson used other-than-legal wood from India for its guitar fingerboards.)
I stress alleged because Gibson has documentation that proves the charges are baseless and the materials they’re using to make fingerboards for their instruments were acquired under the law, rather than in circumvention of it.
What’s especially troubling about this raid – besides the fact that it was conducted by the DOJ of an administration that has no qualms with ignoring laws they don’t agree with (like the Defense of Marriage Act) – is that it’s the second one Obama’s DOJ has carried out against Gibson. (The first was in 2009.)
In other news, while the death toll in Mexico continues to climb and “Fast and Furious” weapons are showing up at crime scenes in the U.S. at a rate that even the L.A. Times can’t ignore, the DOJ’s ridiculous attempt to catch Mexican drug cartel members (at the expense of American laws and American lives) has yet to result in any raids on Attorney General Eric Holder’s office or the home of the ATF’s William Newell or the residences of any number of other administration officials.
Call me crazy, but it seems that harassing a successful American business (Gibson Guitars) under the guise of protecting a tree in India is just another distraction from what our own government did via “Fast and Furious.”


well shit the bed
this thread is missing something but i can't quite put my finger on what it is


Registered User
Gibson shareholders must not have contributed to the proper campaigns

Gotta pay protection money if you want to stay in business
Well being a tree farmer... I might have some issue with someone importing wood from some third world shithole. Example Dutch Elm disease...


Registered User
Well being a tree farmer... I might have some issue with someone importing wood from some third world shithole. Example Dutch Elm disease...
The point is not that it may be diseased, it is that it is supposedly from an endangered tree.

Lord Zero

Viciously Silly
Flying V. Gibson was taken into custody along with brothers Junior, Corvus, and Blueshawk.


Registered User
How can anyone support the feds after seeing seeing shit like this?
yeah maaaaaaaaan!!! where do they get off enforcing the LAW!!! :D

pretty simple, dont violate the Lacey Act, feds wont bust you for it.


Registered User
This is the second time that Gibson factories have been raided. In 2009, the company was investigated for allegedly using illegally imported woods from Madagascar but no criminal charges were pursued.
actually this is not true. There is currently a case in court over this incident.


Registered User
the Gibson CEO claims this is in the pleading... well... that contradicts his previous statement that they've never been charged with anything... how can there be court documents in the case if there have never been any charges?

and if this statement is indeed in the court documents, I wonder if they are public? I quote from them backing up this claim would be nice.


Registered User
Machine Gun Weilding Federal Agents Storm Gibson Guitar Factory

bravo... nicely spun bit of hyperbole.... but why stop at "machine guns"? I mean "flame throwing wielding" would have had a better ring to it :waveyguy: