Federal authorities seized more than 1,000 firearms from the unincorporated east Mesa home of a man they accuse of being an unlicensed gun dealer who unlawfully sold firearms at area gun shows.

About two dozen Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents clad in bulletproof vests and assault rifles surrounded the home of Robert B. and Lois Daly before 6 a.m. Monday.

The home is in the 8300 block of East Quill Street, near 84th Street and McDowell Road in a rural part of east Mesa.

ATF Special Agent Thomas Mangan said agents executed a search warrant for more than 1,000 firearms and financial documents showing Robert Daly illegally sold firearms without a federal license. Daly at one point had a valid license, but it expired in 2006, Mangan said.

“Many of the guns (that were seized) were marked with a price and were for sale,” Mangan said.

While private two-party gun sales aren’t a crime, a six-month investigation found that Daly was replenishing his inventory and sold firearms at gun shows in Nevada and around Arizona, according to authorities.

The most recent instance was Sunday at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Phoenix. Many of the firearms seized had yet to be unpacked from the back of a cargo van that was used to transport them to the show.

“These were not the type of guns you would generally see someone purchasing to commit a criminal act,” Mangan said, however some of them had been tied to crimes. He did not have specifics.

“Some would qualify as antiques,” Mangan said. “He was deriving a profit from the sales.”

Daly was in Prescott as ATF agents descended on his home business, Buffalo Brothers Cowboy Store, but returned to the Valley and is cooperating with authorities, Mangan said. The investigation is not believed to be tied to any international gun trafficking.

In addition to a variety of cowboy and Wild West memorabilia, the company website advertises “a large assortment of handguns, rifles, shotguns, and knives for sale” and states that “we have been importing guns from Europe for over 10 years.”

Lois Daly, Robert’s wife and co-owner of Buffalo Brothers, declined to comment about the investigation.

Source: Nathan Gonzalez for The Arizona Republic

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