Ex-student who built bombs in off-campus apartment sentenced to 2 years in federal prison

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JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania — A former college student has been sentenced to two years in prison for building bombs without a federal license in his off-campus central Pennsylvania apartment.

Vladislav Miftakhov, 19, of San Carlos, California, was sentenced Friday in federal court in Johnstown on a guilty plea to the charge last summer.

Police searched his apartment after a report that he was growing marijuana in the unit and found pot plants along with bomb-making materials, including an unexploded device containing about a half-pound of volatile chemicals.

"I apologize for my reckless actions," Miftakhov told the judge, adding that he wanted to put the matter behind him.

Public defender Christopher Brown contended that much of the legal scrutiny the case received was fueled by the Boston Marathon bombings nine months earlier. He said his client's actions stemmed not from religious belief but rather from having come from a family of scientists and developing a fascination with rockets from an early age.

"This is a bright man who has learned a very hard lesson," Brown said.

U.S. Attorney John J. Valkovci Jr., however, rejected the idea that the defendant's actions were mere youthful thrill-seeking, noting that Miftakhov had detonated an explosive in a park, rousing the neighbors, and had acknowledged to police that he wanted to "blow things up." Prosecutors earlier argued that his intentions weren't clear because officers found "anarchy" symbols in his apartment and a note saying, "If you find this, you will never find me," rolled up and stored inside a bullet casing.

U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson cited Miftakhov's family support and lack of a criminal record but also noted his use of alcohol and a variety of drugs. He said the 24-month sentence in the plea agreement was "sufficient but not greater than necessary."

Miftakhov will get credit for more than 10 months he's spent incarcerated since his arrest.

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