Russian student at Penn State Altoona faces federal bomb-making charges

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U.S. Attorney David Hickton announced today that a college student from Russia, and living in Altoona, faces federal charges of unlawful receipt, possession or making of an unregistered firearm or destructive device.

Vladislav Miftakhov, 18, a legal permanent resident of the United States who attends Penn State Altoona, was transferred from state to federal custody today.

The case against him started on Jan. 24, when Mr. Miftakhov’s landlord called the Altoona Police Department to report a possible marijuana-growing operation in the young man’s apartment, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent wrote in an affidavit unsealed today.

Mr. Miftakhov accompanied officers to his residence and consented to a search, which resulted in the discovery of a suitcase. In the suitcase were an aluminum container with an exposed fuse and a compressed gas cartridge with a fuse. Agents also found atomized magnesium and potassium perchlorate, plus 40 empty carbon dioxide cartridges and fuse material. The ATF agent characterized these as ingredients in explosives.

According to the affidavit, Mr. Miftakhov initially claimed he was making fireworks, but then later said he “was going to blow things up.” A note found in Mr. Miftakhov’s apartment, and signed by him, said, “If you find this, you will never find me,” according to the affidavit.

A witness said that in mid-January, Mr. Miftakhov successfully tested two explosives in a field, according to the affidavit.

Mr. Miftakhov was to appear before a federal magistrate in Johnstown this afternoon.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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