College Friends of Alleged Boston Bomber Indicted For Obstruction of Justice
A federal grand jury today returned a two-count indictment against the friends of alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev claiming they helped impede a federal investigation to keep the suspect out of trouble.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19, have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, according to officials from U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office. The indictment claims that Kadyrbayev received a text message from Tsarnaev to go to his college dorm room at UMass Dartmouth and “take what’s there,” in the days after the marathon attack. Officials said Thursday that Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and a third friend went to Tsarnaev’s room on the campus and removed the suspect’s laptop and a backpack containing fireworks then brought them to their apartment in New Bedford.
The indictment claims that the two suspects later disposed of Tsarnaev’s property by placing it in a garbage bag, and then throwing it in a dumpster outside of their apartment. According to a federal grand jury, Tsarnaev’s friends got rid of the items just days after the explosions on Boylston Street killed three people and injured hundreds of others, and following a plea from police to help identify the alleged bombing suspects.
Both Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were previously charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice in the form of a criminal complaint during the initial bombing investigation back in May. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are both nationals of Kazakhstan, and are in the United States on student visas. FBI officials claim both Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were trying to help their college friend “avoid trouble” in connection with the deadly attack on Boylston Street.
The suspects allegedly lied to officials in a series of interviews in May, following the marathon attacks, before eventually admitting to their role in disposing of the items, in the form of a written statement, during subsequent questioning.
Tsarnaev’s friends lived together in New Bedford, the same town where police scoured a landfill this summer to try and unearth evidence such as the laptop and bag containing fireworks to pursue the charges. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov began attending UMass Dartmouth with Tsarnaev in 2011.
If convicted, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction of justice count and up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count, each to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Both face the possibility of being deported, according to a statement from the U.S. District Attorney’s office.
No trial date or arraignment date have been set, officials said on Thursday.
Tsarnaev made his first court appearance in July, and pleaded not guilty to the more than 30 counts he is facing in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing and police chase which resulted in the murder of an MIT Police officer.
The text from the indictment can be read below: