A GUN dealer from York has been arrested in the United States, accused of importing illegal gun parts into the country.

Gary Hyde, who runs York Guns in Dunnington, was arrested in Las Vegas while attending SHOT Show, a massive sales event for firearms distributors, hunters and gun enthusiasts.

Federal agents detained him on January 20, accusing him of fabricating the markings on a shipment of 5,760 magazine drums for AK47s, to hide the fact they were made in China.

American court documents state HM Revenue and Customs in Britain launched an investigation in 2007 into Hyde, who is also director of another York business, Jago Ltd. In December 2007, Customs officers searched his home, York Guns and Jago Ltd.

The affidavit by Mark Haggerty, a special agent with US Homeland Security Investigations, said it had been involved in a joint operation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, investigating Hyde and others for alleged violation of federal importation laws.

Agents met Customs investigators in the UK two months ago to review evidence gathered in their inquiries. The documents say the evidence shows that, in 2007, Hyde and another man who has been arrested, Karl Kleber, from Portugal, had been recruited by a third person, Paul Restorick, to go to China to buy drum magazines on his behalf and to add false markings to conceal their true origin.

Restorick is alleged to have told Hyde the drum magazines must not “smell of sweet and sour” or of “special fried”, meaning he was not to provide Chinese-manufactured firearms accessories.

The affidavit said Kleber owned 38 per cent of Jago, an international arms, munitions and firearms accessory dealer based in York, while Hyde owned 32 per cent.

Hyde’s wife declined to comment yesterday, at her home near York.

In a statement, York Guns said it was aware that allegations had been made against Hyde, a director of Jago Ltd.

It said: “Although Gary Hyde is managing director of York Guns Ltd, no allegations have been directed towards York Guns Ltd. The company will continue to function as normal in his absence.”

Hyde hit the headlines in the 1990s when he received a bravery award from the then North Yorkshire Chief Constable for his part in foiling a raid on his York Guns shop, then in King Street, during which he had a shotgun pointed at his head by violent robbers.

He was blindfolded during the incident and said later it had been “terrifying – the worst moment of my life.”

He also spoke out in the 1990s against a possible Government crackdown on handguns after it emerged that York Guns had supplied a pistol used by Dunblane killer Thomas Hamilton.

Kleber was due in court last night (UK time) but no court date has been set for Hyde. Hyde’s lawyer has indicated he will deny the accusations.