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Nat’l Guard member threatened to crash plane into Anheuser-Busch brewery, police say

Police car lights (Wikimedia/Matty Ring)
April 07, 2022

A member of the Ohio National Guard was arrested on Monday for allegedly threatening to crash a plane into an Anheuser-Busch brewing company factory in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio Highway Patrol arrested 26-year-old James Ricky Meade II at his home in Chesterhill on Monday, Fox News reported. Reade was a specialist in the Ohio National Guard and served as an air defense battle management system operator prior to his arrest.

Chesterhill is about a two-hour drive from the Anheuser-Busch plant in Columbus, Ohio.

Meade reportedly made social media posts in December, describing how he wanted to steal a plane and crash it into the Anheuser-Busch plant. WBNS 10 reported one of the posts, shared on the social messaging platform Discord, read, “I hope they got a terrorism insurance plan the day before.” 

After seeing the posts woman filed a complaint with local law enforcement and reached out to the Ohio National Guard. A criminal complaint was filed in the Franklin County Municipal Court on March 30 and Meade now faces a third-degree felony charge of making a terrorist threat.

Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team were at the scene when Meade was arrested, U.S. Marshals Service Charles Sanso told Fox News.

Meade joined the Ohio National Guard in 2017 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment based in McConnelsville, at the time of his arrest.

Meade was initially held at a jail in Zanesville, but will reportedly be transferred to the Franklin County jail.

Meade’s arrest comes just days after another Ohio National Guard member was arrested for allegedly making terrorist threats. The Guardsman, 24-year-old Thomas Develin, was arrested on March 30 after allegedly making comments about a local Jewish private school, the Columbus Torah Academy.

Develin joined the Ohio National Guard in 2016 and, like Meade, served in the 2nd Battalion of the 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, the Colombus Dispatch reported.

Develin also worked as a security guard at the Jewish private school.

According to court records, Develin allegedly shared a photo on Discord of himself holding a handgun with the caption, “I’m at a Jewish school and about to make it everyone’s problem.” Develin allegedly shared another post with the caption, “The playground is about to turn into a self defense situation.” Develin also allegedly made a comment about wanting to “shoot parents coming to pick up their children.”

Joel Marcovitch, the president and CEO of the local nonprofit JewishColumbus told the Colombus Dispatch that his organization had been informed Meade had also shared anti-Semitic comments, though he did not make any specific threat against Jewish institutions.

Ohio National Guard spokeswoman Stephanie Beougher said both Meade and Develin are still members of the Ohio National Guard, but their security clearances are suspended and they cannot receive any possible favorable actions like promotions and changes in assignments at this time.

“We are fully cooperating with the criminal investigations and will determine any appropriate military discipline or administrative action when the cases are concluded,” Beougher told the Colombus Dispatch.