Pennsylvania Man Accused of Using a Drone to Drop Explosives on Ex-Girlfriend's House Requests Plea Deal

Explosives Recovered
Explosives recovered from a search of the defendant's home carried out by federal agents. U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

A 43-year-old Pennsylvania man who allegedly dropped explosive devices onto the property of his ex-girlfriend using a drone is exploring a plea deal with federal prosecutors, his attorney told Newsweek.

"[We are] in the process of scheduling a meeting with the Assistant United States Attorney to discuss a plea agreement," the attorney for Jason Muzzicato said in a written statement.

Muzzicato was indicted by a grand jury in June on charges related to the possession of several weapons while subject to a domestic violence protective order and while using illicit drugs, both felonies. A superseding indictment also included a charge concerning his operation of an unregistered drone. Local station WTAP reported that Muzzicato used a DJI Model Phantom 3 drone to drop explosives onto the unidentified woman's property.

When federal agents raided Muzzicato's home, they discovered nearly a dozen weapons, all of which he was prohibited from possessing and many of which were loaded with several rounds of live ammunition. The cache included, among other weapons, a 12-gauge shotgun, a semi-automatic pistol, an AR-15 rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and several improvised explosive devices.

"[Muzzicato] is charged with violating a court order directing that he not possess firearms during the pendency of the protective order," prosecutors alleged in a court filing. "His response to the directive of that order is telling. He blatantly disregarded the direction of the court by possessing nine high-powered firearms, many loaded and within his immediate reach."

According to prosecutors, Muzzicato faces of maximum sentence of 33 years imprisonment and a possible $760,000 fine. His alleged criminal conduct is one of the most common offenses in the federal justice system. In 2017, 9 percent of all convictions were the result of a prohibited weapons possession charge, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

"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 for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William McSwain said in a press release. "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."

The average sentence for defendants convicted on charges like the ones Muzzicato faces is around five years imprisonment. But the sheer volume of weapons recovered in addition to the explosives and drone charges may result in longer sentence for the alleged drone bomber. If Muzzicato is able to arrange a plea deal with prosecutors, the judge has discretion to consider leniency when imposing the final sentence.