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U.S. Customs Agents Raid North Texas Western Stores

NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Federal agents raided a large western store in Weatherford Wednesday, and a second location in Fort Worth. Teskey's Saddle Shop was shut down, during an investigation that owners of the business said was related to tags on some of the merchandise.

U.S. Customs agents guarded the entrance to the large store off Interstate-20, and could be seen going in and out of the main building late into Wednesday afternoon. A spokesman for the government would only say the operation was connected to an ongoing criminal investigation.

Owner Michael Teskey said agents told him the raid was because some items they sold, didn't always carry a tag telling the buyer it came from somewhere other than the United States. "We put a label on there that says Teskey's, Weatherford, Texas," he said.  "And that's it, with a price tag on it and a bar code."

Teskeys ICE Raid 2
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Teskey said the tags never said the merchandise was actually made in Weatherford, or in Texas.

Customs code 19 U.S.C. 1304 states: "every article of foreign origin (or its container, as provided in subsection (b) hereof) imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) will permit in such manner as to indicate to an ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article."

Teskey said he was told the investigation started in 2010, when a shipment of belts came in to a supplier with no country of origin tags. That caused a red flag to go up with inspectors he said, and when he picked up the belts, he believes they started looking at the business.

"If we had any idea, by all means, we would have taken care of that," said Anissa Teskey.

The Teskey's said they're expecting at least a fine, which under the law can go as high as $100,000.

Agents were also at a second location in on 7th Street in Fort Worth, Teskey's Uptown, but owners said the store was closed for less than an hour. The Weatherford store is scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday. Anissa Teskey said they will be immediately correcting any merchandise still tagged incorrectly.

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