After a raid on a lumber business near Richmond, Virginia, an anonymous passerby found the Homeland Security staging documents in the parking lot of a Target store.
On Thursday Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations executed search warrants at the Lumber Liquidator’ s Virginia headquarters in Toano. Another business location for the hardwood-flooring retailer in suburban Richmond was also searched. At the time, a spokesman for the feds declined to say whether the warrant was related to a particular person or for the company as a whole. Lumber Liquidators has 305 stores in North America.
In a statement, the company said it was cooperating to provide information and documentation to “answer questions relating to the importation of certain products.”
NBC12 uncovered information that says the reason for this raid is that protected wood was being illegally imported. The investigation reveals that the wood species is part of the habitat of the highly endangered Siberian tiger.
The wood originates in Russia and is processed in China, but according to information on the documents, government agents suspect the it was declared as coming from other countries. That would be a violation of the “Lacey Act,” which combats trafficking of “illegal” wildlife, fish and plants.
But that’s not all NBC 12 uncovered. The station’s anonymous source known as “Eric” explained how he discovered documents pertaining to the plan.
He says he found Homeland Security’s Operation Plan in the parking lot of the Target on West Broad Street. Those documents do say that was supposed to be the staging area in Henrico. Agents also raided the headquarters in Toano.
The main objective of the plan: to collect emails and documents that could prove the company is importing illegal wood from Russia. Eric says somebody should not have been so careless and people have the right to transparency. The papers also have the names and cell phone numbers of the agents involved.
I think it just points to government insecurity really…I think the people have the right to know what the government is doing.
The Target store is located near Lumber Liquidators in Henrico County. ‘Eric’ says he has not planned to do anything with the documents while Homeland Security has refused to comment “on the lost file.”