Arms dealer Gary Hyde facing March trial

A British weapons dealer accused of smuggling illegal AK-47 parts into the United States for sale by a Chili-based arms distributor is scheduled to go on trial here on March 12.
U.S. District Judge Charles Siragusa Friday scheduled the trial, noting that the proceeding may not be as complex and reliant on a supposed vast arsenal of evidence as once portrayed.
The arms dealer, Gary Hyde, is accused of conspiring with two other European men — Karl Kleber and Paul Restorick — in the alleged smuggling of the AK-47 magazines, which could not legally be imported into the U.S. because they were Chinese made.
American Tactical Imports, the Chili-based weapons distributor that purchased the magazines, has not been accused of any crime.
Federal prosecutors have been awaiting evidence from British and German authorities for use at trial. Law enforcement in both of those countries conducted investigations into alleged gun-running by the men, court records show.
In court papers that evidence was portrayed as a trove of wiretaps, emails and other proof.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Moynihan acknowledged in court today that authorities here have received nothing from British authorities and some information from German police. British authorities declined to turn over evidence until a trial against Hyde was completed there, Moynihan said.
However, that trial ended Thursday when the British judge dismissed the jury, ruling the charges did not meet the legal threshold, according to British media. The British Press Association reported Friday that the government there will appeal the ruling, meaning Hyde could still face a new trial.
There, Hyde is accused of involvement in an alleged unlicensed shipment of tens of thousands of firearms and millions of rounds of ammunition.
Hyde's attorney, Washington D.C.-based lawyer Peter Zeidenberg, has complained that prosecutors here have turned over little evidence to him. For instance, he said, he has not received statements made by Kleber, who has pleaded guilty to smuggling and is cooperating with prosecutors.
Moynihan said authorities have turned over the evidence they have that is mandated by federal law.


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