Federal authorities on Thursday charged a Penn State-Altoona student with making an unregistered destructive device after police found two bombs in his apartment Jan. 24.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton announced the federal charges againsts Vladislav Miftakhov, 18, at a news conference in Johnstown. Miftakhov was to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith A. Pesto.
The Russian-born Miftakhov allegedly constructed the device in his off-campus apartment.
A complaint filed by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Miftakhov made the device using magnesium, potassium perchlorate and an aluminum container that he purchased and had shipped to his residence.
“Making and possessing a destructive device is a serious offense which comes with serious consequences,” Hickton said.
Altoona police, acting on a tip from Miftakhov’s landlord, said they found marijuana-growing supplies and bomb-making materials.
“This combination of materials was being put together at the Penn State-Altoona campus,” Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said.
“Thousands of kids were walking around there,” he said. “If for some reason this guy decided to set this thing off, there could have been a disaster.”
Authorities would not say what Miftakhov was planning.
Miftakhov initially said he was making fireworks, according to the complaint. He later stated that he “was going to blow things up.”
Miftakhov had earlier set off a similar device in a field, authorities said.
The bomb-making materials are being examined at the ATF laboratory in Washington.
Blair County authorities said federal charges would supercede any local charges.
If he is convicted in federal court, Miftakhov faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The ongoing investigation is being carried out by the ATF and FBI with help from Blair County district attorney, Altoona police and state police.
Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PatBuchnowskiTD.