Then Amazon apparently got word of the January 24 arrest of 19-year-old Vladislav Miftakhov in Pennsylvania under Title 18, Section 2716 subsection A of the state penal code. That is the provision regarding “unlawful possession of manufacture of Weapons of Mass Destruction.”
With those three letters, a small town bust suddenly became big news. The fact that the suspect is a Russian national raised the specter of some variation on theBoston Marathon bombing. Miftakhov does not sound all that different from Tsarnaev to the American ear.
And the criminal complaint reported that when asked how he obtained the components, Miftakhov told police he had “purchased all the items on Amazon approximately three weeks ago and constructed them in his room.”
The ingredients prominently included a pound of what was listed in the complaint as “atomized magnesium 100-200 mesh” and a pound of “potassium perchlorate Chinese.” Both proved to be indeed available on Amazon.com in one-pound lots for just a few dollars on Sunday night.
But come Monday morning, attempts to call up either item on Amazon.com brought the message “Looking for something? We’re sorry. The Web address you entered is not a functioning page on our site.” Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, Miftakhov pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and was consigned to the Blair County jail, unable to post the $500,000 cash bail. He allegedly told police that he had been experimenting with various mixtures of flash powder, the stuff that gives firecrackers their bang. He is said to have constructed at least two devices, complete with fuses.
“Miftakhov stated his intent was to set the devices off in a remote field and did not intend on ‘blowing anything up,’” the complaint reports.
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