Extradition of the third man facing criminal charges over the so-called Roast Boasters scandal could be pursued if he refuses to return to New Zealand.
Police last week announced two men in New Zealand had been charged and a warrant was issued for a third man.
All are aged 24 and all are accused of sexual connection with a person aged 12-16.
Two men appeared in Waitākere District Court yesterday, seven years after the Roast Busters scandal erupted.
But there was no sign of the third man, thought to be in California.
"That person will be arrested if he returns to New Zealand," Detective Inspector John Sutton said when announcing the charges.
Yesterday, police told the Herald if the third accused man failed to return voluntarily, steps could be taken to bring him back.
Detective Inspector Kevin McNaughton of Waitematā police said decisions to pursue an extradition request were case-specific.
He said police had to consider the seriousness of the offence, strength of available evidence and the likely sentence upon conviction.
The charge the so-called "Roast Busters" men face carries maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.
McNaughton said authorities also had to consider if a person could be readily located, and the anticipated cost of extraditing somebody.
"Requests for extradition are unlikely to be approved unless the person extradited would likely receive a substantial custodial sentence."
But McNaughton added: "In this case, police are yet to make any final decisions on whether an extradition request will be made."
Police had been in contact with the man based overseas but McNaughton would not elaborate on that contact.
Extraditions are unusual but not without precedent.
The US is currently seeking the extradition of New Zealand fraudster Miles McKelvy on new drug trafficking allegations.
The Ministry of Justice said the highest number of extraditions to New Zealand were from Australia.
The Extradition Act and a bilateral treaty outline ways people can be extradited from the United States.
The treaty describes extraditable offences, which include sexual acts involving children which both countries regard as underage.
Doug MacMaster, a California criminal lawyer and former state prosecutor, told the Herald the New Zealand sexual connection offence was extremely similar to an existing US law.
Court documents the Herald has seen show all three men were jointly accused of sexual connection at a time when a complainant was under 16 but the trio were not.
In Waitākere District Court yesterday, the two men who appeared were remanded on bail without entering any pleas.
The first to appear, an Auckland man, wore a facemask in the courtroom. Lawyer Ron Mansfield represented him and sought interim name suppression.
The Herald opposed name suppression but suppression was granted until the man's next appearance.
A member of the public yelled "shame" as the accused man left the courthouse.
The second to appear lived in Waikato and declined to comment as he left the court.
Both appeared before a deputy registrar. They were ordered to return to court on January 15, when they will appear before a judge.
The Roast Busters scandal reverberated across New Zealand in 2013.
Members of the group allegedly bragged about performing sexual and degrading acts on drunk or underage girls.
The issue also sparked intense debate about how police investigated sex offence complaints.
Publicity prompted a second police investigation, Operation Clover, which identified 110 girls who had social contact with the so-called Roast Busters.
But Operation Clover resulted in no charges.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority later identified failures in how police handled complaints about the Roast Busters group as far back as 2011.