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Deputy Mayor of N.Y. Town Had 17 Illegal Guns in His Home

Deputy Mayor of N.Y. Town Had 17 Illegal Guns in His Home

Brian Downey, the deputy mayor of a village located about an hour’s drive north of New York City, was arrested last week after an early morning court-ordered search of his residence turned up what the authorities said was “an arsenal of weapons.”

There were guns hanging from one wall, guns on a rack against another wall and a sawed-off shotgun in a nearby closet, according to a federal complaint that cited a “gun room” in Mr. Downey’s ground-level basement.

In all, the federal and state charges accuse Mr. Downey of possessing 17 unregistered firearms and 13 firearm silencers.

Details of the case emerged in recent days with the release of complaints by federal and state authorities.

During the search of Mr. Downey’s house, in Airmont, N.Y., the authorities also seized a lockbox containing fake credentials from the F.B.I. and other law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Marshals Service, one of the complaints said.

Some of the fake credentials had Mr. Downey’s photograph, and the authorities also found four F.B.I. patches that could be sewn to a uniform, the complaint said.

Mr. Downey was charged in the federal complaint with one count of possession of unregistered firearms and one count of possession of federal badges and identification cards, which he was not authorized to have.

He was separately charged by the Rockland County district attorney’s office with state weapons offenses.

“Our community is without a doubt safer today than it was yesterday,” Tom Walsh, the Rockland County district attorney, said in a statement last week.

He added in a later statement that anyone who takes an oath of office to serve the public “should have integrity beyond reproach.” His office said in the statement that the investigation was continuing.

Mr. Downey, 47, is listed as the deputy mayor and a member of Airmont’s board of trustees, an elected body that governs the village of 9,000, according to the village’s website.


Neither Mr. Downey nor the village’s mayor, Nathan Bubel, responded to messages seeking comment on Wednesday. Mr. Downey’s lawyer, Andrew C. Quinn, said he had no comment.

Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting the federal case, declined to comment.

During the search, the authorities said they also recovered two fake New York State Court officer shields and an identification card bearing Mr. Downey’s name and photograph.

According to the federal complaint, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has no record of authorization for Mr. Downey to own the sawed-off shotgun or a short-barrel rifle, two of the firearms seized from Mr. Downey’s residence.

During the search, Mr. Downey agreed to speak to law enforcement agents and told them that he lacked any registration or authorization for controlled firearms, like the sawed-off shotgun and the short-barrel rifle, the complaint said.

Mr. Downey said he had placed the short barrel on the rifle, believing “he was allowed to do so because he was a peace officer,” the complaint said, without elaborating on what he might have meant.

The state complaint noted that Mr. Downey has a pistol license, which lists other firearms, but that none of the guns cited in the charges are listed on his permit.

Mr. Walsh’s office said in its statement that Mr. Downey was taken into custody last Thursday after he purchased a rifle silencer over the internet. (Possession of a silencer is illegal in New York State.)

Mr. Walsh’s office said it learned of the purchase of the silencer after being alerted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents about the device’s delivery to Mr. Downey’s house.

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