Ac­cused bomb-maker used drone to drop ex­plo­sives on ex-girl­friend, pros­e­cu­tor says

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Peter Hall

The Wash­ing­ton Township man sus­pected in a se­ries of late-night ex­plo­sions in the Slate Belt used a drone to drop ex­plo­sives on his ex-girl­friend’s prop­erty, a fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor said Mon­day in court.

Ja­son Muzzi­cato was hit ear­lier this month with ad­di­tional charges re­lated to the dis­cov­ery of firearms and im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices at his home in Wash­ing­ton Township and his Ban­gor busi­ness. One count for fly­ing a drone not reg­is­tered with the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion was among the new charges.

At Muzzi­cato’s ar­raign­ment Mon­day in fed­eral court in Al­len­town, As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney John Gallagher said the al­leged use of a drone to drop ex­plo­sive de­vices on his ex­girl­friend’s home war­rants Muzzi­cato’s con­tin­ued con­fine­ment. U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Henry S. Perkin granted the gov­ern­ment’s re­quest , de­fense at­tor­ney John Wal­dron said.

Wal­dron said his client de­nied us­ing the drone to drop ex­plo­sives.

“We don’t have any con­clu­sive ev­i­dence and when my client was in­ter­viewed by the FBI he de­nied that,” Wal­dron said.

Wal­dron said the mo­bile de­vices used to con­trol Muzzi­cato’s drone were taken by the FBI for anal­y­sis, in­clud­ing de­ter­min­ing when and where the drone was flown.

A Nov. 4 trial is sched­uled, al­though Wal­dron said it’s pos­si­ble that the case could be re­solved be­fore then.

Muzzi­cato, 44, also is charged with pos­ses­sion of 10 firearms while sub­ject to a pro­tec­tion from abuse or­der, pos­ses­sion of the guns while he was us­ing metham­phetamines and pos­ses­sion of il­le­gal im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices.

FBI agents and lo­cal po­lice searched Muzzi­cato’s home on Flicksvill­e Road in Wash­ing­ton Township and busi­ness June 7 look­ing for “de­struc­tive de­vices,” ac­cord­ing to court records. Prose­cu­tors say the de­vices con­nect Muzzi­cato to a se­ries of ex­plo­sions that had un­nerved res­i­dents since late March. Most of the ex­plo­sions hap­pened in the south­ern part of the township and did not cause in­juries or dam­age. Sev­eral un­ex­ploded de­vices were also re­cov­ered.

Prose­cu­tors said at Muzzi­cato’s first court ap­pear­ance in June that he was un­der the in­flu­ence of meth when he was ar­rested and that made him a threat to the com­mu­nity.

“It’s hard to con­jure up a more deadly or dan­ger­ous com­bi­na­tion than firearms, ex­plo­sives and metham­phetamine,” Gallagher said.

Muzzi­cato, who owns Ban­gor Mo­tor Works, has been in jail since June.

Court records show that Muzzi­cato was in­volved in a dis­pute with an ex-girl­friend, with each granted a pro­tec­tion from abuse pe­ti­tion against the other in 2017. The woman told a Northamp­ton County judge that Muzzi­cato did some­thing to shat­ter her car win­dow as she passed him on the road last De­cem­ber, an ac­cu­sa­tion that didn’t stick for lack of ev­i­dence.

Court records also said res­i­dents in the area com­plained that some­one had been van­dal­iz­ing ve­hi­cles and caus­ing road haz­ards by drop­ping nails and flu­ids on Ban­gor-area streets. An ex­am­i­na­tion of Muzzi­cato’s ve­hi­cle showed it had been mod­i­fied with dash­board switches to op­er­ate de­vices that could re­lease nails, ball bear­ings and flu­ids, in­clud­ing paint thin­ner, that could dam­age ve­hi­cles, court records said.

U.S. AT­TOR­NEYS OF­FICE

A fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor said Ja­son Muzzi­cato of Wash­ing­ton Twp. used a drone to drop ex­plo­sive de­vices on ex-girl­friend’s prop­erty.

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