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US Reviewing Russian Student's Bomb Arrest

Published: January 28, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • Russian student Vladislav Miftakhov was arrested after police found bomb materials in his rented room.
    Photo: Worldnewshddtvv / Youtube

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The FBI and US prosecutors were reviewing allegations against a college student from Russia who has been charged with possessing bomb-making and marijuana-growing materials, though police acknowledge the suspect told them he wasn't planning on "blowing anything up."

No federal charges had been filed against Vladislav Miftakhov by early Monday. The 18-year-old was arraigned Saturday on state court charges filed after Altoona police said they found bomb materials in his rented room near the Penn State-Altoona campus, about 137 kilometers east of Pittsburgh. On Monday, Miftakhov was in the Blair County Prison, unable to post $500,000 bond.

Miftakhov doesn't have an attorney. Hollidaysburg defense attorney Bob Donaldson told The Altoona Mirror, which first reported the charges, that he expects to be appointed to the case.

The lawyer told the newspaper that Miftakhov was "articulate, intelligent and focused on his education" when the two met for several hours at the jail on Sunday.

In an affidavit, Altoona police said they searched Miftakhov's bedroom after speaking with his landlord about possible marijuana growing there. During the search, police found a suitcase holding two containers with exposed fuses and other explosives-related materials, as well as a smaller "completed device."

"Miftakhov stated he was making 'flash powder' and was experimenting with different mixtures and how they would blow up," the affidavit said. Miftakhov told police he bought the materials online about three weeks ago and assembled them in his room.

Police said Miftakhov at first told them "he was going to blow things up," but he didn't specify what nor did police ask him to elaborate at that time, according to the affidavit. Under later questioning, Miftakhov said he had experimented with the devices in California, but never in Pennsylvania, and he had not planned on blowing up anything, the affidavit said.

"Miftakhov stated his intent was to set the devices off in a remote field and did not intend on 'blowing anything up,'" and that he was too afraid to detonate one of the devices he made, the affidavit said.

Miftakhov's roommate, Andrew Leff, told the newspaper Miftakhov was bored and impulsive but not dangerous.

Miftakhov faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 5 on charges including possessing or making a weapon of mass destruction, ricking a catastrophe, reckless endangerment and drug charges including, manufacturing or possessing marijuana with the intent to deliver it.

He has been given an interim suspension by the Altoona school, according to campus spokeswoman Shari Routch.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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