Filing of bomb suspect’s federal indictment delayed

JOHNSTOWN – The filing of a federal indictment against an 18-year-old former Penn State Altoona freshman arrested in February on charges of making bombs in his off-campus apartment has been postponed at least for another month.

Vladislav Miftakhov was initially charged with the unlawful receipt, possession or making of an unregistered firearm destructive device after Altoona police reportedly found three small bombs and bomb-making materials in the apartment structure where he was living.

Police went to the apartment because of a complaint that Miftakhov was growing marijuana.

U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson ordered the Miftakhov be detained in the Cambria County Prison because he was a threat to the community as well as a flight risk.

Miftakhov remains a Russian citizen although he has been in the United States with his family since he was age 4.

Normal procedure is for the government to file a criminal information or seek a grand jury indictment within 30 days after the charges have been filed.

But Assistant U.S. Public Defender Christopher Brown and Assistant U. S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania James T. Kitchen have asked for more time to decide what the charges will be filed against Miftakhov.

In March, Gibson granted an extension until April 24 to file the charges.

Now U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania David J. Hickton has requested an extension until May 25.

Hickton’s request stated, “Counsel for the defendant and counsel for the government are actively engaged in discussions regarding the charges which may be set forth in any information or indictment. Additional time will permit the parties to explore fully the law and the particular circumstances with this case.”

Pesto granted the delay on Monday.

Miftakhov, it was reported, has waived his right to an information or indictment within the allotted time period.

The defense during a detention hearing characterized Miftakhov as bright young man who made some mistakes but who was attempting only to make fireworks as opposed to a bomb.

The prosecution contended Miftakhov went far beyond a juvenile attempt to make fireworks, noting the device he prepared and actually set off were powerful enough to maim and kill.

Investigators were also concerned because Miftakhov had visited websites devoted to beliefs of anarchists.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.