Illegal machine guns found in Truckee home |

Illegal machine guns found in Truckee home

A Truckee man is in jail after Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies found machine guns, including one that is used to shoot down aircraft, at his home.

Timothy Christopher Ryan, 46, was arrested early this morning as he left his home on Greenlee Road, accompanied by his two children.

Sheriff’s deputies and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had been staking out the house, waiting for Ryan to leave and distance himself from the combat weapons before they arrested him.

They found three machine gun receivers, a nonregistered converted AR-15 assault rifle and a Browning Model 1919 machine gun inside several outbuildings, including a garage.

The Browning weapon is an anti-aircraft machine gun used by the U.S. and other countries’ military forces in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, said Nevada County Sheriff Lt. Ron Smith. He said it is a “belt-fed” gun that takes more than one person to carry it.

Any machine gun is illegal for a private citizen to possess, Smith said.

The assault rifle had been altered from semi-automatic to fully automatic.

Several do-it-yourself books on building weapons were also found on Ryan’s property.

Officials began investigating Ryan after he threatened to kill a federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service at his home about a month ago. The incident arose when firefighters responded to an out-of control burn pile on Ryan’s property.

A firefighter went to the house and knocked on a glass door, intending to cite Ryan for the fire. But Ryan would not answer even though he was making eye contact through the glass, Smith said.

The firefighter decided to bring a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service to the house. The officer opened the door and told Ryan she needed to talk with him.

“(Ryan) said to ‘Get off my property,’ and started walking to the garage when he said something to the effect of ‘I’ll get my shotgun and blow your head off,” Smith said.

The firefighter and the officer decide to leave instead of engaging in a confrontation with Ryan, he added.

“One of them was pregnant, and they thought it would be best to leave,” Smith said.

The federal officer wrote an arrest warrant affidavit, and after further investigation, deputies with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office in Truckee secured a search warrant for Ryan’s home, which they served at the time of his arrest on Wednesday.

A tripod designed for the Browning machine gun was also found.

“We believe he was manufacturing tripods and parts for the guns,” Smith said.

He said it appeared the weapons were being manufactured for Ryan’s personal use.

An unloaded semi-automatic handgun was also found in Ryan’s car during the arrest, Smith said.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms may press federal charges, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal. “We’re working with them on this,” Royal said.

Ryan was booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility Wednesday morning on two charges of possessing a machine gun and making criminal threats.

His bail was set at $60,000, and he is set to be arraigned this week in Nevada County Superior Court.

To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail or call 477-4236.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User