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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Western District of Washington

For Immediate Release

January 13, 2012

Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney

Contact: Emily Langlie, Public Information Officer
(206) 553-4110

Snohomish County Man Sentenced to Prison for Robbery Tied to Gun Trafficking Investigation

Defendant Conspired to Rob Gun Purchaser Who was Working with ATF

A 20–year–old Snohomish County man was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to rob property of the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. KEVIN KNOWLES was arrested in April 2011, after he and three other men used an AK–47 assault rifle to rob a person who was working with law enforcement. The robbers did not know their meeting with the gun purchaser was being monitored by law enforcement. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives Violent Gang Task Force began the investigation into gun trafficking in early 2011. A person working with law enforcement arranged, through a convicted felon, to purchase some high powered weapons from KNOWLES and co–defendant Corey Michael Gonzales. Instead of selling the weapons to the buyer, KNOWLES, Gonzales and two other men used the weapons to rob the buyer of $900 in buy money provided by law enforcement. The men were tracked down and arrested in the days following the robbery.

In their request for a 41 month sentence for KNOWLES, prosecutors wrote to the court that KNOWLES and his cohorts robbed a man at gunpoint, using a high–powered military style assault rifle. Unfortunately for them, the man turned out to be an ATF CI. In the end, no one was injured, but that was largely the product of luck. It is difficult to overstate how potentially dangerous this situation was. Armed federal agents were close–by. Only clear thinking on the part of the agents prevented this situation from turning into a shootout, during which the CI, the defendants, or even the agents could have been seriously injured or killed.

KNOWLES co–defendant, Gonzales, is scheduled for sentencing March 16, 2012.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) Violent Gang Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553–4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.