Baltimore, Maryland – A criminal complaint was filed on January 28, 2022, charging Scott Ryan Merryman, age 37, of Independence, Kansas, for federal charges of making threats against the President of the United States and interstate communication containing a threat to harm. Merryman is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore today at 3:45 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent.
The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Bo Keane of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Brandon Bridgeforth of the United States Secret Service – Kansas City Field Office.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Merryman has made threats against the President of the United States and several United States Secret Service Agents and traveled from his home in Kansas to Maryland. The affidavit alleges that in a series of telephone calls on January 25 and January 26, 2022, Merryman advised law enforcement officers that he was en route to Washington, D.C. to see the President and that he was going to “cut the head off the snake in the heart of the nation.”
As detailed in the affidavit, during an in-person interview with a Secret Service agent on January 26, 2022, in Hagerstown, Maryland, Merryman allegedly reiterated his plans to travel to Washington, D.C. to “cut the head off the snake in the heart of the nation.” During a consent search of Merryman, the agent found no weapons, but Merryman did have a loaded magazine containing three bullets that he was carrying on his person, and a spotting scope in his backpack.
Later that day, Merryman called the Secret Service agent with whom he had spoken in Kansas and told the agent that he had finished speaking with the agents that the Kansas agent “had sent for him and that they had given him the answer.” He told the Kansas agent that the agents in Hagerstown had told him “not to take the bullets to the White House,” then stated, multiple times, “I’m coming for you b***h.” The affidavit alleges that during the course of the conversation, Merryman also stated, “Well, I have a bullet with your name on it,” among other threats.
The affidavit includes a series of increasingly threatening messages Merryman allegedly posted on social media from January 25, 2022, through January 27, 2022. In addition, the affidavit alleges that Merryman contacted the White House switchboard on January 27, 2022, and made threats against the President, using the same telephone number he used to contact the Kansas Secret Service agent. Merryman allegedly stated the threats to a White House operator and to a Secret Service Special Agent to whom his call was referred.
If convicted, Merryman faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for making threats against the President of the United States and a maximum of five years in federal prison for interstate communication containing threats to harm. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the United States Secret Service Baltimore and Kansas City Field Offices for their work in the investigation, and thanked the Justice Department’s National Security Division for its assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Sullivan, who is prosecuting the federal case.
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