Gun dealer indicted with Frederick Co. sheriff claims ‘political vindictiveness’

A Frederick County Sheriff's car. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)
The Maryland gun dealer indicted with Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of conspiring and making false statements to illegally acquire machine guns says the indictment is based on “political vindictiveness” and is asking a federal judge to drop the case.

Robert Krop, the owner of The Machine Gun Nest, is accused of scheming with Jenkins to purchase machine guns, which Krop rented to the public.

According to the April indictment, Krop wrote letters for Jenkins to sign between 2015 and 2022 requesting machine gun demonstrations for potential future purchases by the department — a condition which would allow the weapons to be transferred to Krop.

Last week, the sheriff’s attorney filed a motion seeking separate trials for his client and Krop, saying there’s no evidence Jenkins “ever laid eyes on the machine gun.”

However, Krop’s attorney Dan Cox filed a motion saying Jenkins had the opportunity, on several occasions, to view demonstrations and displays of the weapons, during visits to The Machine Gun Nest.

Regardless, Krop’s attorney has asked the judge to dismiss the indictment, which was filed, “with apparent political vindictiveness, for a nonexistent crime, in order to try to remove one of the nation’s most upstanding and outspoken Sheriffs (the prosecutor’s office) does not like politically, who regularly and professionally appears on television opposing certain misguided and failed policies of the Biden Administration.”

Cox was a state legislator from 2019 to January 2023 and the 2022 Republican candidate for Maryland governor.

Cox said Krop’s business is “law enforcement’s go-to private practice and demonstration facility in Maryland,” and over 383 law enforcement and military members demonstrate its machine guns at the facility.

The motion claims the Biden administration’s prosecution aims “to do what the socialist far Left of the Democrat Party and the (American Civil Liberties Union) have always sought in Frederick — removal of the Sheriff,” as well as ending the program that allowed local law enforcement to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “which would allow open borders for cartel slave trafficking activity, and greatly limiting the FCSO’s constitutional authority, which office is directly responsible to the voters and not political appointees or Executives.”

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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