In 2007 Mil Tec Marketing, a British arms dealer signed a contract with the U.S. military to supply gun parts to the war effort in Iraq. The deal included 8,000 tripods for PKM semiautomatic rifles, an additional 200 tripods for a heavy infantry rifle sometimes used for anti-aircraft firepower, and more than 5,700 75-round drum-shaped magazines for the popular AK-47 rifle.
Normally a deal between the British arms company and the U.S. military would have nothing to do with Rochester. But this was beginning of a series of events that would involve American Tactical Imports, a Rochester based gun store, in an illegal weapons deal.
Mil Tec had bitten off more than they could chew. The order was too big for their firm to fulfill. In a desperate attempt to gather the stock they purchased 5,760 AK-47 magazines from China. When the U.S. military found out that Mil Tec could not supply the full order the contract devolved into a legal battle. The contract was eventually terminated, leaving Mil Tec with over 5000 AK-47 magazines, with no buyer.
Mil Tec was in a jam, Chinese firearms are difficult to sell in America and Europe. Two gun dealers, German-born Karl Kleber and another Brit, Gary Hyde, were brought on to find a buyer for the barrels. That buyer became Rochester based ATI.
International human rights activists say that Kleber and Hyde have been linked to trafficking in weaponry more potentially destructive than drum magazines. Both have been linked to illegal arms trade in Liberia and Libya
By the time the authorities tracked down where the gun parts were sold in 2009, ATI had already sold most of stock. ATI and its owner, Anthony DiChario claims that he and his company were lied to about where the gun parts had come from. Many of the remaining pieces that the authorities seized were re stamped with Bulgarian pin numbers, which would have been legal in New York. The problem was also brought up that magazines, such as the ones being sold, were not legal, unless manufactured in before 1994. ATI plead ignorance of when the parts were manufactured as well.
A federal affidavit used to seize computers from ATI and another DiChario-owned company at the same site, AmChar Wholesale, did portray the companies as loose with their inventory of weapons. Court documents also suggest that an intermediary for ATI was purposefully blind to the fact that the magazines were manufactured in China.
ATI was not charged with breaking any laws.
In 2009, federal agents caught up with Hyde and Kleber. They were extradited back to England and charged with smuggling 5,760 Chinese made magazines into the Untied States. Many of the Barrels were never recovered, but ATI records suggest that they were sold legally to proper gun owners.