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Feds Raid Gibson Guitar Plant

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 5:37am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Federal agents on Tuesday raided a Gibson guitar manufacturing plant and seized guitars amid concerns about where the Nashville-based company obtains the fine woods that go into its instruments.

Television stations reported that authorities seized wood guitars and other items, but no one was arrested.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and Gibson officials did not return a call to The Associated Press for comment.

But Gibson did issue a statement saying the company is "fully cooperating with agents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as it pertains to an issue with harvested wood."

Guitars and other musical instruments are often built from tropical hardwoods. Amid rainforest depletion, such woods are increasingly the focus of tight controls.

"Gibson is a chain of custody certified buyer who purchases wood from legal suppliers who are to follow all standards," the statement said. "Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO sits on the board of the Rainforest Alliance and takes the issue of certification very seriously. The company will continue to cooperate fully and assist our federal government with all inquiries and information."

Gibson Guitar Corp. manufactures acoustic and electric guitars. The company also makes pianos through its Baldwin brand.

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