Justice Department Gearing Up to Enforce Lacey Act

The U.S. Department of Justice appears to be taking enforcement of the Lacey Act, the country’s oldest wildlife protection statute, to a higher level – especially as it relates to policing the trafficking of wood and wood products.

On Aug. 24, 2011, federal agents raided Gibson Guitar Corporation, executing four search warrants on two of Gibson’s Tennessee facilities in Nashville and Memphis, resulting in the seizure of several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. It was the second such raid on the corporation’s Nashville facility in as many years. The other, conducted Nov. 17, 2009 and resulting in the seizure of guitar parts that may have been harvested illegally in Madagascar, was the first enforcement action related to a series of extensive Lacey Act amendments from 2008. At the time, it served as a wake-up call to businesses.

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