The Internal Revenue Service raided Fightin’ Creek Smoke Shop south of Coeur d’Alene this week as part of an ongoing investigation.
The raid also included other businesses and at least one residence linked to the owner of the smoke shop.
Bryan Thiel, IRS criminal investigation special agent, said his unit typically looks at cases involving criminal tax fraud and money laundering, but he would not release details regarding this investigation.
“No official charges yet. No arrests have been made,” Thiel said. “Everything stays sealed until we investigate further.”
An employee at the smoke shop, 23181 S. Highway 95, said the shop was open but declined further comment.
Smoke shop owner Nick Matheson, a Coeur d’Alene tribal member, could not be reached for comment.
The IRS criminal investigation unit assisted by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched three properties in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area and three in Western Washington on Wednesday, Thiel said. The locations of properties other than the smoke shop were not released.
One of the locations was Matheson’s home, Thiel confirmed, and the raids were the first to be done in connection with this case.
Items were seized during the searches, but Thiel would not identify them. However, he said, his investigations are usually “paper record intensive, so that’s what we typically look for.”