A deputy mayor of a New York village is facing state and federal charges after he was found with a cache of unregistered firearms and fake FBI badges, prosecutors said.
Brian Downey, deputy mayor of Airmont in Rockland County, was arrested at his home Thursday for purchasing a rifle suppression device over the internet. Department of Homeland Security agents had tipped off prosecutors to the delivery of the illegal device, Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh said.
“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. “I pledged during my campaign that if elected, that I would be a district attorney that would act without fear or favor. Today’s arrest is another example of my commitment to the citizens of Rockland County.”
During the search of the Downey’s home, investigators found more than a dozen firearms mounted on a wall in what agents called a “gun room” — including an illegally modified short-barrel rifle and a sawed-off shotgun, a criminal complaint shows.
Downey acknowledged that he wasn’t authorized to possess the controlled weapons, but claimed he felt he was allowed to alter the rifle because “he was a peace officer,” the complaint shows.
Investigators then found a lock box that Downey said he couldn’t access, leading a federal agent to force it open. Inside the box was more than 10 fake federal badges bearing the deputy mayor’s name and photo, including credentials from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Prisons, among others.
“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 unsealed Tuesday in the US Southern District Court in New York.
After being charged Thursday with multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon, Downey was charged Friday with additional counts for possessing 10 or more unregistered firearms, 16 assault weapons and 13 firearms silencers, Walsh said.
Downey, a deputy building inspector in Ramapo and a part-time court officer, was first elected as an Airmont trustee in 2019, according to the Journal News. If convicted of a felony, he would be forced to leave office, the outlet reported.
Court records do not list an attorney for Downey, who did not respond to messages for comment late Tuesday, the Washington Post reported. He has been released on bond after a federal judge reportedly set his bail at $250,000, according to the newspaper.
After being charged Thursday with multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon, Downey was charged Friday with additional counts for possessing 10 or more unregistered firearms, 16 assault weapons and 13 firearms silencers, charges show.
“I will echo my statements on Thursday about this unfortunate incident,” Walsh said. “Anyone who takes an oath of office to serve the public and is entrusted to by their community to serve its constituents should have integrity beyond reproach.”
The investigation into Downey is ongoing, Walsh said.