In a press release from the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, a Middletown man who shot a police drone was sentenced to 11-22 years in prison on gun and drug charges. John Palaio Jr. was found guilty of 19 charges and was sentenced to 11 to 22 years in state prison on several drug and gun violations, including shooting at a police drone during an arrest attempt last summer.

Palaio was convicted on multiple charges, including prohibited possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, making repairs to or selling offensive weapons, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, fleeing or attempting to elude police, possession of an instrument of crime, criminal use of a communication facility, and criminal mischief.

On July 6, 2022, Middletown Township Police attempted to serve an arrest warrant at Palaio’s home on drug and weapons charges. They used a police drone to confirm his presence but lost connection after hearing gunshots while flying it. Palaio was later spotted riding away on a motorcycle and failed to stop when police pursued him. He then fled into his garage, prompting police to establish a perimeter due to concerns about his potential access to weapons. Despite repeated orders to surrender, Palaio did not respond. Subsequently, he was seen by officers fleeing on foot along the train tracks. Although he managed to evade police temporarily, he was ultimately apprehended several days later by the U.S. Marshals Service.

During a court-authorized search of Palaio’s garage, which was conducted as part of the investigation, police discovered several pellet guns, brass knuckles, and drug paraphernalia for packaging and consuming methamphetamine. Additionally, a revolver was recovered from a red toolbox in the garage. In a separate incident in June 2022, police found 200 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and two firearms, one of which had an obliterated serial number, during an investigation at Palaio’s home. Palaio was also charged with evading Middletown police in January 2022.

The Middletown Township Police Department, along with assistance from Bucks County Detectives and the U.S. Marshals Service, conducted the investigation. Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon handled the prosecution of the case. (Press Release)

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