ALTOONA — A 19-year-old Russian national and Penn State Altoona student was charged Saturday afternoon with possessing weapons of mass destruction.
Altoona police said Vladislav Miftakhov, 19, of 118 N. Ninth Ave., was charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction, risking a catastrophe, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, prohibited offensive weapons, incendiary devices, recklessly endangering another person, possession of controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possessing instruments of a crime.
Miftakhov is being held in the Blair County Prison in lieu of $500,000 bail with special conditions due to his Russian citizenship, police said. He was arraigned Saturday morning at Blair County Central Booking, police said.
Police said while Altoona officers were investigating a reported marijuana-growing operation, they located suspected bombs and other assorted bomb-making materials inside a suitcase at Miftakhov’s apartment.
Members of the state police bomb squad safely deconstructed the bomb, police said.
Miftakhov told investigators he purchased the bomb-making material on the Internet over the course of a few weeks.
Federal agencies were notified and are assisting with the investigation.
Miftakhov is listed as an engineering student at Penn State Altoona.
Chancellor Lori Bechtel-Wherry said the investigation has not turned up any sign that Miftakhov made any specific threats or had planned to attack anyone.
Miftakhov was attending classes on a valid student visa, she said in a statement.
“I ask that you not make assumptions or conclusions, be fair-minded and not foster rumors, and rely upon facts in viewing this situation,” Bechtel-Wherry said in a message to the Altoona campus community.