The music world is going nuts over the Federal Government’s second major raid of Gibson Guitars in just two years. Agents stopped production at Gibson’s facilities and confiscated massive quantities of wood, unfinished guitars, and finished products. This article covers the basics, including Gibson owner Henry Juszkiewicz’s decision to defy the federal government and continue shipping finished guitars to retailers after the raid.
Why would the government use armed agents to attack one of the few major manufacturers of
Very few TTAC readers travel with guitars, particularly across the country’s borders, so I don’t expect this to worry you personally. If, on the other hand, you want to drive across the Canadian or Mexican border in your own car — or even a rental — consider this: The same law that allows the Feds to raid American manufacturers and seize the possessions of Americans without compensation applies to
Check out some sources: here and here. Simply possessing the timber product can make you a felon, regardless of whether or not you were involved in the harvesting, were the original importer, or had received any information regarding the source of the timber product. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are driving a Bentley Flying Spur with a rosewood interior. Importation of Brazilian rosewood is a felony under the Lacey Act. Do you know where the rosewood in your Spur came from? Can you prove it? In Gibson’s case, it was Indian rosewood that supposedly caused the bust; although the importation of Indian rosewood is legal, it has to be finished and prepared to certain standards in India. If raw Indian rosewood is sent to Bentley for finishing into dashboards — and make no mistake, that
I took both of my Phaetons to Canada and back several times. My 2005 had chestnut wood which supposedly came from America, but my 2006 had eucalyptus. I have no idea whether that eucalyptus was harvested legally. What if my car had been seized at the border? How would I have been able to prove that the wood was legitimately harvested according to the rules of whatever country it came from?
The sheer number of wood-interior automobiles (leather, too, is covered under the Lacey Act, as is any animal-or-plant-derived seating, such as wool or cotton) crossing the border every day means that the likelihood of such a seizure is small. Is it small enough to risk losing your car just because a border agent doesn’t like your reason for being in Canada? Think that’s far-fetched? Ask the woman doing two years in federal prison for accepting lobsters in clear plastic bags how far-fetched it is.