US government inspectors have seized over $500,000 worth of wood from guitar makers

Gibson, one of the highest profile guitar manufacturers in the world, is facing a criminal investigation into allegations it is killing rainforests in the production of its instruments.

The guitar manufacturers were raided for the second time in three years by investigators in August, with over $500,000 (£317,000) worth of imported rosewood taken away for detailed inspection, reports BBC News.

The wood was seized under the Lacey Act, a new environmental law that forces firm who import goods to the US to comply with environmental laws in the country of origin of the goods as well. The wood in question is rosewood, which mostly found in rainforests and is increasingly rare. It is added to the neck of guitars in the manufacturing process.

The company had already had one shipment of the wood confiscated when they tried to import it from Madagascar two years ago and endured a similar fate in June when a shipment from India was impounded on arrival in Dallas, Texas.

Gibson, which produces over 700 guitars a day, denies any wrongdoing and says the whole incident is a misunderstanding over tariff coding.