A deputy mayor of a city in New York state faces federal charges after authorities discovered unregistered firearms and bogus badges for federal agencies, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.
Last week, Brian Downey, a Republican who serves as deputy mayor of Airmont, New York, was taken into custody for “purchasing a rifle suppression device over the internet,” according to a statement from the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.
Authorities later executed a search warrant on his home and found at least 13 illegal suppressors and 16 unregistered assault weapons, including a short-barrel rifle and sawed-off shotgun.
The firearms were displayed on a rack in a room of Downey’s house, which authorities dubbed the “Gun Room,” according to the complaint. Alongside the illegal firearms, law enforcement officers also found a small locked box, to which Downey claimed he did not have the combination.
After forcing the box open, it contained “numerous federal badges and credentials” bearing Downey’s name from various agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Also located within the lock box were Downey’s United States passport book, United States passport card, and his New York state commercial driver’s license,” according to the complaint.
It was not immediately clear what Downey intended to use the bogus federal badges and unregistered firearms for.
The investigation was a joint effort between US Homeland Security, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and US postal inspectors, The Journal News reported.
According to the complaint, Downey was charged with possession of unregistered firearms and possession of federal badges and identification cards following the search warrant. Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh announced Thursday that Downey also faces nearly a dozen state counts of criminal possession of a weapon in relation to the incident.
“Today’s arrest of an individual who was entrusted by the public to serve his community is a sad day for our County,” Walsh said in a statement last week.
“Our community is without a doubt safer today than it was yesterday,” he continued.
Downey was elected as deputy mayor of Airmont in 2019. If convicted, he would be forced to leave office.
It was not immediately clear if Downey had an attorney representing him in the case.