Authorities arrested three men for allegedly helping Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, after the attack. The trio attended University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth with Tsarnaev and had contact with him leading up to his capture.
The 19-year-old suspects saw Tsarnaev on television when he was named as one of the bombers, and tampered with evidence to help him hide from police.
A laptop, some empty fireworks and a jar of Vaseline landed three friends of Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in jail Wednesday, charged with trying to throw investigators off their buddy’s trail.
Those are the items federal prosecutors say Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos–all 19– took from Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in the hours after the FBI released photos of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, the suspects in the marathon bombings. According to FBI affidavits, they quickly recognized their friend from the pictures.
When Kadyrbayev texted his friend to tell him “he looked like the suspect on television,” Tsarnaev texted back “lol” and added, “come to my room and take whatever you want,” the affidavit states. Phillipos, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev went to the room, where Kadyrbayev noticed a backpack containing fireworks that had been “opened and emptied of powder,” according to the affidavit.
“Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing,” the affidavit states.
All three are accused of removing items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the April 15 bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 260. According to the affidavit, they left with the backpack, the Vaseline — which Tazhayakov believed could be used to make bombs — and Tsarnaev’s laptop.
By the time they got back to the apartment in New Bedford that Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev shared, the Tsarnaev brothers had been named as bomb suspects, and the three friends “started to freak out,” Phillipos recounted after what the affidavit stated had been four previous interviews.
The trio decided to dispose of the backpack and fireworks, because they “did not want Tsarnaev to get in trouble,” according to the affidavit.
Phillipos, who is from Massachusetts, has been charged with “willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a federal investigation.” The remaining cohorts, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev –both originally from Kazakhstan– have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice to conceal and cover up a tangible object belonging to the bombing suspect. During their arraignment Wednesday (May 1), Phillipos waved his right to a detention hearing and is due back in court Monday (May 6); both Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayey waved a request for bail.
Phillipo faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The other two men stand to do up to five years behind bars, alongside the fine, and are due back in court on May 14.
Photo: Fox News