British National Pleads Guilty to a Customs Violation
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Gary Hyde, 44, of York, England, pleaded guilty to a charge of removing and altering country of origin markings on imported articles and was sentenced to time served by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa. Hyde, who is currently serving a sentence of seven years in prison in England for his involvement in a separate illegal arms transaction, appeared through his attorney.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret A. Puscheck, who handled the case, stated that the defendant jointly owned, along with German national Karl Kleber, Jago Ltd., a company based in Great Britain that buys and sells arms. In 2007, the defendants obtained approximately 6,000 75 round capacity AK-47, rifle drum magazines from a Chinese arms manufacturer that were to be produced with no Chinese markings on the magazines or their containers. In March 2008, while Karl Kleber had sole physical custody of these Chinese-manufactured gun magazines in Germany, Kleber agreed to sell the drum magazines to American Tactical Imports, Inc. (“ATI”), of Rochester, an arms and munitions wholesale distributor.
In August 2008, 5,760 of these Chinese-manufactured, 75 round capacity, AK-47 rifle drum magazines bearing no Chinese country of origin marks were shipped from Germany by Kleber to ATI. Prior to shipping the defendants agreed to the arrangements for sending the drum magazines to ATI for resale while both were aware that Chinese-manufactured drum magazines could not be imported into the United States. In September 2008, the drum magazines were imported into the United States and delivered to ATI in Rochester.
In February 2011, Karl Kleber was convicted of smuggling goods into the United States and is awaiting sentencing.
A third defendant, Paul Restorick, was also arrested in this case and the charges against him are pending.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, James C. Spero, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Scott Heagney.