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May 24, 5:59 PM EDT

Reputed mobster indicted on new gun charges after search


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A reputed mobster has been indicted on weapons charges stemming from a search of his Connecticut home by federal agents who were looking for a half billion dollars' worth of stolen artwork.

A federal grand jury Tuesday indicted Robert Gentile, 79, on one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, and one count of possession of an unregistered silencer. Both charges carry possible sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

Federal authorities said they seized a .22-caliber Browning semi-automatic pistol, a 9 mm Walther semi-automatic pistol, a .38- caliber RPB Industries, M11-Al semi-automatic pistol, and an unregistered silencer during the May 2 search of Gentile's Manchester property.

Authorities were in the house as part of an investigation into the 26-year-old heist of 13 paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Gentile's attorney said.

The alleged New England Mafia member has been targeted by federal authorities since a gangster's widow claimed that her husband gave Gentile two of the paintings, which included works by Rembrandt, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Johannes Vermeer. No one has been arrested.

"These are the same tactics employed by the government to pressure him to give information that he maintains he simply does not have," attorney A. Ryan McGuigan, said Tuesday.

Authorities have searched Gentile's home before, including one time with ground penetrating radar.

Gentile is currently in federal custody awaiting trial in a separate gun case.

Prosecutors say Gentile had spent time in the home while on supervised release and could face additional prison time if he is found to have violated the terms and conditions in that case.

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