One of two Ohio Army National Guardsmen charged this spring with making terroristic threats has now been charged with making and selling so-called “ghost guns,” untraceable homemade weapons crafted with the help of a 3D printer, according to federal court records unsealed Monday.
James Meade II, 26, and Thomas Develin, 24, were charged March 31 after posting anti-Semitic, white nationalist, racist, and misogynistic content on a Discord chat used largely by Ohio National Guard members, court records stated.
The content on the Discord logs, specifically posted by Develin, was “consistent with that of racially motivated violent extremist and incel violent extremist content,” said the newly unsealed affidavit from agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
While carrying out search warrants in late March and early April on Develin’s residence, ATF agents said they discovered the 3D printer and dozens of firearms, several of which were described in court records as having no serial numbers and being made from 3D-printed material.
The ATF agent writing the affidavit said Develin admitted to officers he began making ghost guns in 2020 with the intent to sell them for profit. Develin told the agent that “he manufactured and sold six ‘lowers’ [receivers] that he knew were illegal,” the affidavit reads.
Officials from the Ohio Guard did not respond to detailed questions sent Wednesday asking how many soldiers were involved in the Discord chats, and whether there was any connection to an Ohio Guardsman who was removed from a mission to Washington, D.C., during the summer 2020 protests after the FBI found he had expressed white supremacist ideology on the internet prior to the assignment.
Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch reported that both Meade II and Develin were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, based in McConnelsville. Meade II was a specialist and Develin was a corporal. Ohio Guard officials did not respond to emailed questions about either man’s current duty status.
Posts made on Discord show that Meade and Develin made threatening posts dating back to at least September 2021. It’s unclear how many other Guardsmen were involved in the chat logs.
Develin, who at the time worked for Sahara Global Security, a private security company that provides armed security services for various Jewish facilities in Columbus, Ohio, made a Sept. 27, 2021, threat to shoot up a Jewish synagogue he was working at.
“I’m getting $30 an hour for executive protection. But it’s at a Jewish synagogue,” Develin wrote in a comment attached to a photo of the synagogue. “Having an inner debate that if an active shooter comes in I might just join him.”
Similar posts were frequently made between October 2021 and February 2022, and on March 11, Develin posted, “I’m at a Jewish school and I’m about to make it everyone’s problem. The playground is about to turn into a self-defense situation.”
He further threatened to shoot the next parent that showed up to drop off their child at the school, saying he wanted to get on “their radar at the ATF that we aren’t fucking around.” An accompanying picture showed him holding a Glock in his lap.
Court documents in the case against Develin also reveal that Meade II threatened to fly into the towers at a local Anheuser-Busch plant, a move that investigators said was modeled after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Meade II is referred to in the document as “Person A.”
“Person A also discussed traveling to John Glenn airport. Person A stated he would go to any towers that happen to be close together,” the ATF affidavit stated. “Develin suggested the brewery off of Interstate 270, which is a Budweiser manufacturing facility. DEVELIN posted pictures of the facility and Person A replied that he, ‘Hope they got a terrorism insurance plan the day before. My elven overlords bid me to destroy the tower.’”
In addition to the anti-Semitic threats, Develin also made threats against Black communities and women. On Feb. 5, Develin posted that “we’re about to hunt n*ggers on night patrol in Columbus. Someone’s gotta work the beat and hold the line.”
Multiple posts with accompanying memes and images were made concurrently depicting Develin’s views on women and sexual assault.
“Rome wasn’t made in a day and neither was my sexual assault record,” a meme posted in December read. A February post falsely quoted Sun Tzu’s Art of War, reading, “If your enemy is a female soldier, you must rape her.”
Develin also made threats against Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, alluding to the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in which Army Maj. Nidal Hasan entered a readiness processing center on post and opened fire, killing 13 and wounding dozens of others.
On Dec. 21, 2021, Develin wrote, “Ight, time to turn wright pat airbase into Fort hood in 2009.”
Meade II and Develin were previously facing charges in Franklin County Court for terroristic threats. Develin is now facing more charges related to the making and selling of the 3D-printed weapons. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 13 in Columbus before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.