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The Ohio National Guard says that it booted a guardsman who was recently sentenced for making untraceable weapons, also known as ghost guns, from its ranks several months after his arrest on the federal charges.
Thomas Develin was a corporal in the Ohio Army National Guard. He was arrested in June 2022 on three charges stemming from his efforts to make so-called “ghost guns” — untraceable firearms that he built using 3D printers – while also facing local charges for threats against a private Jewish school in the state.
At the time of his arrest, a spokesperson told Military.com that Develin would not be disciplined or separated from the military until the criminal case was concluded. However, Capt. Jenna Walton, a spokeswoman for a unit in the state’s Guard, told Military.com on Friday that Develin was actually discharged in August 2022.
Walton, in an email, said that Develin, who was previously assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, received a general discharge from the Ohio Army National Guard on Aug. 3, 2022.
The removal of Develin from service is a reversal of not only the Ohio Guard’s own position but of the broader, slower approach many Guard units have taken to troops accused of extremist activity.
Waiting to punish a service member until civilian trials are concluded is not required by any military regulation. Service members are frequently, and sometimes expeditiously, discharged from all the branches of service without civilian due process for things like marijuana use, an activity that is forbidden military-wide despite the fact that there are many states where recreational use is permitted.
Pfc. Abram Markofski, who was in Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment, a National Guard unit based in River Falls, Wisconsin, served for almost two years after his arrest on charges stemming from his role in the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Markofski continued to draw a paycheck and train with his unit while he pleaded guilty to his charges and was then sentenced to probation and a fine for one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Military.com reported that Markofski was finally being removed from the service in April 2022.
Markofski is hardly the only case. Cpl. Jacob Fracker, an infantryman assigned to the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division, with the Virginia National Guard, pleaded guilty in March 2022 to a federal conspiracy charge. He continued to serve for more than a year – albeit in a restricted capacity – until his case concluded and the state moved to remove him from service in April 2022.
Develin, in a court filing, said that his extremism stemmed from a sense of worthlessness and depression that followed his return from an Afghanistan deployment.