Straw Buyer Allegedly Sold Guns to Criminal Market

Edmonton… ALERT has charged an alleged firearms straw purchaser with selling firearms to the criminal market.

An investigation by ALERT Edmonton’s Guns and Gangs unit has resulted in a variety of firearms charges against Aaron Hanlen-Knight. The 23-year-old Athabasca man was arrested on May 9, 2019.

ALERT alleges that Hanlen-Knight purchased five handguns between November and December of last year, which were then re-sold. Only one of the firearms has been recovered thus far.

Straw purchasing typically involves someone with a valid Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) but no criminal record obtaining firearms for someone who otherwise could not, or who does not want their name associated with the transaction.

In a search of Hanlen-Knight’s Athabasca home, ALERT did seize four other firearms, including a prohibited sawed-off shotgun.

Athabasca RCMP and Boyle RCMP provided assistance with the investigation. The investigation began in December 2018 after the RCMP’s National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) provided information about suspicious firearms purchases.

Hanlen-Knight has been charged with firearms trafficking, possession of firearms for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a prohibited firearm, and firearm possession at an unauthorized place.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.