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Penn State student arrested for constructing 'weapons of mass destruction'

Altoona Police Department

Vladislav Miftakhov was arrested and charged with possession of weapons of mass destruction when police found explosive devices in his apartment.


A Russian college student in Pennsylvania was charged with unlawful possession of 'weapons of mass destruction' and risking catastrophe on Friday, according to authorities.

Penn State Altoona student Vladislav Miftakhov, 18, was arrested Friday after Altoona police found homemade bombs and bomb-making materials in his room while investigating a possible marijuana growing operation, according to a criminal complaint.

Police also found marijuana plants but called backup when they discovered fuses attached to aluminum and plastic containers.

After officers removed Miftakhov from a class and attained a search warrant, investigators discovered one pound each of atomized magnesium and Chinese potassium perchlorate and a package labeled potassium nitrate powder — which are all “key components in the bomb making process,” the criminal complaint said.

And although the specific charge is the "unlawful possession or manufacture or weapons of mass destruction" there's no indication that the student had anything nuclear or radioactive.

Miftakhov told Altoona police and campus police that he intended to “blow things up” with the bomb-making paraphernalia that he said he purchased on Amazon, according to the complaint.

State troopers safely dismantled the bombs after Miftakhov said he considered one of them a “completed device.”

Miftakhov was later charged with 11 counts, including possession of weapons of mass destruction, possession of drug paraphernalia and recklessly endangering another person.

The student said he constructed the devices in his room but claimed he had never detonated them in Pennsylvania. He said intended to detonate the smaller bomb in a remote field, but he was “scared” to blow up a larger device.

But Miftakhov’s roommate, Andrew Leff, told the Altoona Mirror on Sunday that Miftakhov had blown up three “mini-bombs” outside their apartment.

"He was off the wall," Leff said, adding that his roommate was a “crazy kid” who did “impulsive things.”

A Facebook page tied to Miftakhov’s name indicates he lives in San Carlos, California and is from Moscow, Russia.

Miftakhov was unable to post bail, which was set at $500,000. He will stay in the in Blair County Prison until his preliminary hearing on Feb. 2.