Weatherford Democrat

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September 8, 2013

Import labels at issue in ICE’s store searches

Warrants connected to fed’s Aug. 28 actions at local businesses made public

(Continued)

During the investigation between 2010 and 2013, investigators reportedly located product importation records associated with Teskey’s and an Indian exporter/manufacturer, with declared values for the products totaling nearly $3.8 million.

Officials said they tracked several shipments to Teskey’s of items that were labeled “Made in India” and later collected hundreds of discarded “Made in India” labels from the trash bin outside the business.

During visits to Teskey’s, special agents reportedly observed hundreds of products with no foreign country of origin labeling, many displaying Teskey’s labeling and branding stamp and some with Bar H Equine labeling.

“Teskey’s” branded tack on display throughout Teskey’s Saddle Shop during a June visit did not have country of origin labels and an employee said she did not know where a breast collar was made, Walker wrote. Asked if the belts labeled “Teskey’s” were made locally, another employee allegedly told a special agent that the belts were made in the United States.

The Teskeys are cooperating fully with the government as they’ve done since day one, Toby Galloway, attorney for the Teskeys said, adding that he expects the issue to be resolved swiftly and favorably for the Teskeys.

Galloway declined to comment on the investigation.

Bar H Equine

Walker also visited three retailers in Decatur and Denton that carried leather saddlery items with “Bar H Equine” labeling but noted no country of origin markings on any. Employees at those locations stated the items were made in Weatherford or the United States or assembled in Mexico with U.S. materials, he wrote.

An employee at one retailer told the investigator that the store did not carry products made of “water buffalo” from India and he believed Indian water buffalo to be inferior to U.S. cowhide, according to Walker. The owner of the retail store later referred to Bar H tack in an interview as “imported stuff,” stating he knew it was imported based on his experience and the quality and price of the products. However, he reportedly said he did not notice the products were not marked and was not aware of what country they were from.

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