U.S. District Judge Charles Siragusa ordered Gary Hyde of York, England, to remain in the Rochester area in a case involving a trio of gun dealers that could shed light on the illicit global arms trade.
The 41-year-old Hyde pleaded not guilty to the charges last week, posted $50,000 cash bond and was released locally on electronic monitoring. The case could take up to a year to reach trial, and his attorney asked that Hyde be allowed to return under supervision to Britain.
Karl Kleber, 56, a German national who had been living in Portugal, pleaded guilty Feb. 9 and agreed to testify for the prosecution. Paul Restorick, 61, of Kent, England, also was indicted on two arms-trafficking counts in January but is not yet in U.S. custody.
Federal prosecutors have indicated that in addition to the U.S. charges, Hyde faces criminal allegations in England stemming from a separate transaction involving 40,000 AK-47 rifles.
The U.S. case centers on two British companies that prosecutors say conspired to import a shipment of 5,760 Chinese AK-47 assault rifle drum magazines in August 2008 that were disguised as Bulgarian-made.
Kleber pleaded guilty to one count of aiding in a scheme to slip past a U.S. ban on importing Chinese weapons. Prosecutors said he could get up to five years in prison.
His cooperation threatens to expose the inner workings of a group of companies whose collaboration in gray-area weapons deals around the world has long frustrated authorities and arms trade experts.
Hyde and Restorick each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation stretches from China to Portugal and involves authorities in Britain, Germany and elsewhere.
Prosecuting the case in the U.S. signals that tough American arms-trafficking laws provide the strongest venue to pursue illicit weapons charges. Arms traffickers often skirt detection by operating in countries that have weak oversight and laws regulating weapons transactions.