May 21, 2024

A Naples man who thought he was protecting a drug sale of 5 pounds of methamphetamine will face five years in federal prison.

Michael Karp, 50, pleaded guilty June 22 to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber sentenced him Friday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives opened an investigation into Karp last August, according to court documents.

An undercover ATF agent conducted a cocaine deal in May 2022, and Karp was present during the purchase but not handling drugs or money, the arrest affidavit states. He was “the muscle of a robbery crew.”

Between August and December of 2022, the investigation indicated Karp was experienced in protecting drug loads and expressed interest in protecting future drug transactions.

He drove to Miami in March to provide armed protection for a fictitious drug load of 2 kilograms of methamphetamine, according to the report. He came armed with several firearms and was paid with ATF official funds. The transaction was recorded.

Karp drove from Naples to Fort Myers in April to provide armed protection for another fictitious drug load. During the drug deal, Karp handed 5 pounds of fake methamphetamine to an agent. Again, Karp was paid, and the transaction was recorded.

He met the agent again in May at TownePlace Suites in Naples thinking he was protecting a drug sale of five pounds of methamphetamine.

Karp escorted the agent to the hotel room. The agent previously arranged for Karp to sell him a silencer before the drug transaction.

Before the May 23 drug transaction, Karp sold the agent a silencer for a .22 caliber firearm for $800. He told the agent he had shot a gun with the silencer before and it quieted the noise, according to the affidavit.

Another undercover agent arrived, acting as the purchaser of the methamphetamine. Karp showed his pistol.

Karp also asked the agent about selling him methamphetamine. They discussed pricing or exchanging a gun for the drugs, according to the affidavit.

Karp was paid $1,000 for the armed security, and the transaction was recorded.

He violated federal law. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Morgan prosecuted his case.

Emma Behrmann is a breaking news reporter for Naples Daily News and The News-Press. You may reach her at emma.behrmann@naplesnews.com.

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Naples man sentenced to five years in federal prison

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