A Pennsylvania man faces federal charges for allegedly using a drone to drop explosives on his ex-girlfriend’s home.
Jason Muzzicato, 43, was arrested in June, initially indicted by a grand jury with possessing unregistered firearms despite a domestic violence protection order from his ex-girlfriend. A superseding indictment filed earlier this month added even more potential prison time due to IEDs and guns allegedly found in his home.
He was also allegedly using meth and allegedly operating the drone without registering it with the FAA, according to the new indictment.
Though prosecutors haven’t charged Muzzicato with several detonations that occurred around Washington Township, they did accuse him in court this week of using the drones to drop the explosives, The Morning Call reported Monday.
His attorney John Waldron noted that Muzzicato has denied dropping explosives using a drone.
“I don’t have any conclusive evidence at this point in time about that specific allegation,” he told TPM in a phone interview Wednesday, noting Muzzicato has already denied using the drones that way to the FBI. “I’m waiting for any of that evidence to come once they forensically examine the computers.”
Muzzicato has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, but Waldron told several reporters this week that he was exploring a plea deal with prosecutors.
“In all honestly, it’s not disputed that he had a [Protection From Abuse order] and weapons were found in his home, so it’s just a matter of what we can, maybe, come to an agreement with,” Waldron told TPM.
“It does not take much imagination to conjure up the enormous harm that can result from the combination of illegal firearms, explosives, and drone aircrafts,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement earlier this month. “Adding methamphetamine and a disregard of court orders to the mix only serves to heighten the risk. Here the defendant’s alleged behavior violated the law and threatened public safety.”
An area man recalled the explosions to local reporters.
“All of a sudden, I heard them. It rained nails,” Charles Carcione told WFMZ. “They came out of the sky. They dropped down from the sky. Nobody was around. Nobody went by and threw them. They dropped from the sky.”
“Everything has been quiet since his arrest,” he added of Muzzicato.
After a search of Muzzicato’s home upon his arrest allegedly turned up several explosive devices (pictured above) and guns, prosecutors stressed that the man posed a danger to the community.
“This wasn’t a rusty hunting rifle forgotten in the basement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Gallagher told the court, as quoted in The Morning Call. “The firepower that the defendant had … these guns were locked and loaded and ready to go.”
After Muzzicato’s arrest earlier this year, his attorney acknowledged his possession of the explosives, but denied he was using them criminally.
“He was using them in his backyard,” Waldron told reporters in June after his client’s arrest, referring to the explosives uncovered by law enforcement. “Some people like fireworks and things like that, and that’s more along the lines of what he had mentioned, that, in his backyard, they had been used.”
As part of a separate investigation in which law enforcement obtained a warrant to search Muzzicato’s vehicle, law enforcement found “several modifications to the vehicle by which toggle switches on the dashboard operate hidden mechanisms, which release fluids, including paint thinner, drop nails onto the roadway, and release ball bearings and other debris capable of damaging vehicles,” a pre-trial detention motion alleged.
Muzzicato could face 33 years in prison and a $760,000 fine, according to McSwain’s office.
This post has been updated.
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