Altoona Student in Bomb-Making Case Takes Plea

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Penn State Altoona engineering student Vladislav Miftakhov accepted a plea deal for making and possessing a bomb in his apartment earlier this year.

Miftakhov, who was born in Russia but moved to the United States when he was four, entered his guilty plea Thursday on one count of manufacturing explosive devices without a license. Sentencing guidelines say he faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

Police began investigating Miftakhov due to suspicions he was growing marijuana in his Altoona residence. While searching his apartment, police found bomb-making materials as well as what they believed to be a bomb in addition to five marijuana plants.

“These chemicals can be used to create explosive devices but mixed together they can be set off even by static electricity,” David Hickton, a U.S. attorney, told the Associated Press. “There’s a very good reason why they’re required to be registered under the facts we’ve charged him under.”

Police found one pound of atomized magnesium and one pound of Chinese potassium perchlorate along with a package labeled potassium nitrate powder. Miftakhov told police “he was going to blow things up,” when asked what he was going to do with the material.

Miftakhov admitted to buying the materials over the Internet, and the bomb squad was called in to deconstruct the apparatus. He was arrested on Jan. 24 for 10 different counts, including possessing a weapon of mass destruction, risking a catastrophe, possessing instruments of crime, prohibited offensive weapons, incendiary devices, recklessly endangering another person, possession of controlled substances, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Miftakhov’s attorney said his client never intended to hurt anyone — he was just bored. He faces a separate immigration hearing, which could lead to his removal from the country.

He returned to Cambria County Prison to await his sentencing hearing in December.

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Jessica Tully

Jessica Tully is a first-year law student at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in journalism and political science.

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