EL PASO, Texas – A British man who was brought to Texas to face charges that he tried to sell missile parts to Iran was released from U.S. custody Wednesday on $1 million bond.
Christopher Tappin left U.S. custody after a federal magistrate gave final approval to his bail conditions. The 65-year-old must wear a tracking device and live within five miles of his Houston-based attorney while he awaits trial. He also must not leave the Houston area and must have his computer use monitored.
No other hearing dates have been set.
Tappin was extradited from Britain to the U.S. in February and had been confined to the Otero County Jail in Alamogordo, N.M. He was still wearing jail togs Wednesday when he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Robert Castaneda in El Paso. By the time he left with his attorney, Tappin had changed into a white sports shirt and slacks.
Giving one word answers to reporters' questions, Tappin said he was "relieved" to be released and was looking forward to calling his wife. His attorney, Kent Schaffer, said he and Tappin would go to Houston to begin preparing for Tappin's defense.
Tappin is accused of trying to buy batteries for Hawk surface-to-air missiles from undercover American agents with the intention of exporting them to Iran.
Prosecutors contend Tappin provided undercover agents with false documents to circumvent the requirement for the batteries to be government licensed before being exported.