Federal Agents Raid Gibson Facilities In Nashville, Memphis - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Federal Agents Raid Gibson Facilities In Nashville, Memphis

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by Amanda Hara

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Gibson Guitars put a hold on making musical instruments Wednesday as dozens of federal agents swarmed company buildings in Nashville and Memphis.

US Fish and Wildlife Agents showed up at multiple Gibson locations with a search warrant in hand.

Immigration and Customs Officials assisted in the case. No one would say why they were searching Gibson buildings, but a source told NewsChannel Five it's related to an investigation that came less than two years ago.

Back in 2009, federal agents suspected that Gibson was illegally importing Rosewood and Ebony from Madagascar, then using the material to make guitars.

But folks who work near the plant aren't so sure.

"I've seen this before about illegal wood saying they haven't done anything wrong and I tend to believe them because it doesn't make sense for them to use illegal wood when they're established over 40-50 years some of the finest guitars in the world," Dave Maschinski said.

Environmentalists have long maintained that over harvesting has endangered Ebony and Rosewood, and disrupted the nation's native lemur population.

US Fish and Wildlife Agents said affidavits may soon be available to detail what was seized on Wednesday.

Gibson announced plans to hold a press conference Thursday at 1:30 p.m. to address the searches.

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