Caterpillar Illinois facilities searched by law enforcement

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  • The ticker symbol and trading information for Caterpillar is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 2, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

    The ticker symbol and trading information for Caterpillar is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Copyright Reuters 2017)

  • The ticker symbol and trading information for Caterpillar is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 2, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

    The ticker symbol and trading information for Caterpillar is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Copyright Reuters 2017)

Federal law enforcement officials searched facilities of heavy machinery manufacturer Caterpillar Inc in Peoria, Illinois, on Thursday, and the company's stock tumbled.

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It was not immediately clear why federal agents raided three Caterpillar locations.

Sharon Paul, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney Office for the Central District of Illinois, confirmed that federal law enforcement activity was conducted at three locations in Peoria, East Peoria and Morton.

The facility in Morton, according to the company���s website, is responsible for receiving and shipping after-market parts to parts facilities and Cat dealers worldwide.

Caterpillar spokeswoman Corrie Scott said in an emailed statement that the company was cooperating with authorities.

"Law enforcement is present in various Peoria-area Caterpillar facilities executing a search warrant. Caterpillar is cooperating," Scott said. She declined to comment further.

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Caterpillar shares were down more than 4 percent on the news.

The Peoria Journal Star newspaper reported that law enforcement officials were seen entering Caterpillar's headquarters. Some people were wearing jackets with the Internal Revenue Service logo, the report said.

The newspaper also said a placard in the window of one of the federal vehicles noted it was used by police from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security Office of Export Enforcement.

The searches come a week after Caterpillar's outgoing chief executive, Douglas Oberhelman, met at the White House with President Donald Trump. Oberhelman joked with Trump about offering the president, who made his fortune as a real estate developer, one of the company's big D10 bulldozers.

"I love those D10s," Trump replied, before saying that Caterpillar's business was being hurt "when we raise the dollar, and we let other people manipulate their currencies."

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Dan Grebler)