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Columbus man pleads guilty to making and selling ghost guns

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio said made 25-year-old Thomas Develin entered his plea Thursday in federal court.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Ohio National Guard member from Columbus accused of making terroristic threats toward a Jewish school pleaded guilty to making and selling ghost guns.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio said made 25-year-old Thomas Develin entered his plea Thursday in federal court.

In his plea agreement, Develin admitted that he created the ghost guns, which are untraceable homemade weapons made in whole or in part with a 3D printer, to sell for profit.

He also made and possessed homemade conversion devices to convert semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and Glock-type pistols into fully automatic machine guns.

Develin admitted that he made and sold firearms that he knew were illegal.

Authorities say Devlin advertised online that he possessed and was selling 3D-printed sears, which are devices designed to convert semiautomatic AR-type rifles into fully automatic rifles. These devices are considered “machineguns” under federal law.

Other messages on his phone stated that he had manufactured a two-handed firearm with an overall length under 26 inches, which is illegal.

Develin was arrested earlier this year and charged with making terroristic threats after anti-Semitic statements and photos were found posted by him on social media.

Court documents say Develin posted photos of himself posing with a semi-automatic handgun on March 11 while he was working as a private security guard for Columbus Torah Academy.

According to the court documents, Develin posted statements that said, "I'm at a Jewish school and about to make it everyone's problem," and, "The playground is about to turn into a self-defense situation."

Court documents also state Develin posted comments saying he "wanted to shoot parents coming to pick up their children."

When Develin was arrested, agents discovered night vision goggles, ballistic plates, a ballistic helmet, first aid equipment and a large quantity of ammunition including several loaded magazines in his vehicle.

Agents discovered more than 25 firearms in his residence and vehicle as well as two IED manuals.

Develin admitted in his plea that he knew law enforcement may be coming for him, so he went to the property surrounding a cabin of a person he knew to hide and burn illegal firearms parts.

In text messages with another person, Develin also discussed hiding and destroying evidence. He admitted he took these acts with the intent to obstruct the investigation.

Illegally making firearms and unlawfully engaging in the business of manufacturing and dealing machine guns are federal crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Manufacturing and dealing any firearms without a license are punishable by up to five years in prison.

Develin’s charges regarding the terroristic threats remain pending.

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