Three More Suspects Arrested In Boston Bombings

Two young men from Kazakhstan and one from Cambridge, MA were arrested and charged today in the Boston Marathon bombings investigation, federal prosecutors said.

All three were, or had been, students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston Marathon bomber was also a student.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both 19 and of New Bedford, were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by plotting to dispose of a laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks belonging to the bombing suspect, the US attorney’s office said in a statement.

Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge was charged with making false statements to law enforcement officials in a terrorism investigation, prosecutors said.

Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev face maximum sentences of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Phillipos faces a maximum sentence of eight years and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said.

The trio told investigators that Kadyrbaev removed Tsarnaev’s backpack, which contained fireworks that had been opened and emptied of gunpowder, from Tsarnaev’s dorm room on the evening of April 18, shortly after the FBI released photos of the two bombing suspects (which the FBI later identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan), according to an affidavit by Special Agent Scott Cieplik attached to the complaint.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov both admitted they agreed to throw away the backpack after concluding from news reports that Tsarnaev must be one of the bombers. Kadyrbayev decided to remove the backpack from Tsarnaev’s room “to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble,” the affidavit said.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev have been charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by concealing and destroying evidence. A third man, Robel Phillipos, was charged with lying to investigators about the visit to Tsarnaev’s room.