Prosecutors have accused an autoworker of using a drone to drop bombs on his ex-girlfriend’s home in Washington Township, Pennsylvania.
Jason Muzzicato was arrested by the FBI following a search of his auto business and his home on June 8, which uncovered about 10 guns, including multiple semi-automatic pistols and AR-15 rifles and seven handmade explosives, according to Lehigh Valley Live. His possession of weapons was illegal because of a domestic violence protective order filed against him in 2017.
Muzzicato was charged this month with crimes related to possession of the firearms and explosives, as well as flying a DJI Phantom 3 drone that wasn’t registered with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
According to Pennsylvania newspaper the Morning Call, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Gallagher said at the autoworker’s arraignment in federal court on Monday that Muzzicato used a drone to deliver an explosive to his ex-girlfriend’s property, and he should, therefore, remain in custody.
“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 news release about the case.
Muzzicato was not charged with detonating explosives. Defence attorney John Waldron said Muzzicato denied using drones to drop bombs. “We don’t have any conclusive evidence, and when my client was interviewed by the FBI he denied that,” Waldron said, according to the Morning Call.
Waldron said the FBI is analysing the mobile devices Muzzicato used to fly his drone, to find where and when the drone flew.
According to the Morning Call, prosecutors allege that the devices found in Muzzicato possession on June 8 connect him to explosions that disturbed the community since late March but caused no damage or injuries.
Washington Township resident Charles Carcione told local news station WTAP about hearing explosions in the neighbourhood at that time and filming one explosion with his home security camera.
“One day, I was... in the driveway doing something. All of a sudden, I heard them. It rained nails. They came out of the sky. They dropped down from the sky,” Carcione told WTAP. “Nobody was around. Nobody went by and threw them. They dropped from the sky.”
Carcione told WTAP he knew Muzzicato and had been suspicious of him.
The Morning Call reports that court records show that a search of Muzzicato vehicles found dashboard switches that controlled contraptions that released ball bearings, nails, and paint thinner that could potentially be used to vandalise other vehicles.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Muzzicato could face 33 years in prison and a. $US760,000 ($1,112,452) fine if convicted.