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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

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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