Why the FBI Arrested 3 Men in Marathon Bombing Case Today
Three of Dzhokar Tsarnaev's friends from college were arrested and charged by the FBI today. The three men are Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are foreign nationals who shared an apartment
on Carriage Drive in New Bedford, MA. Phillipos is a US citizen. All three of the 19 year old men started attending Dartmouth in 2011 around the same time as Dzhokar Tsarnaev and apparently became good friends.
The FBI's Boston field office published the criminal complaint against the three men on its website today. The following details of the actions allegedly made by the three men come from that complaint.
On April 18, the FBI released photos of the bombing suspects. Kadyrbayev immediately texted the other two friends and suggested that one of the suspects looked familiar. Kadyrbayev then texted Dzhokar directly and pointed out the similarity. Dzhokar responded with "LOL" and then texted "I'm about to leave if you need something in my room take it."
Communicating by text, the three friends decided to meet at Dzhokar's dorm room on campus. When they arrived, Kadyrbayev showed Tazhayakov the text from Dzohkar about leaving. Tazhayakov felt he would never see Dzohkar alive again.
After being let in by a roommate, the three friends decided to watch a movie. While in Dzhokar's room they discovered a backpack containing fireworks which had been emptied of their explosive powder. At this point, Kadyrbayev was certain Dzhokar was involved in the bombing and decided he would take the backpack and Dzohkar's laptop computer out of the room in an effort to protect him.
After returning to their own apartment, the three friends stayed up watching the news. The next morning after the bombers were identified as the Tsarnaev brothers, the group (allegedly) decided to dispose of the backpac by putting it inside a trash bag and tossing it in the dumpster. Later that day one of the men saw a trash truck take it away.
When he was questioned by the FBI about the group's actions, Phillipos allegedly claimed he had not gone to Dzohkar's apartment on the 18th. He then changed his statement to say that he had gone but that no one had answered the door, so he and his friends left. He allegedly claimed not to remember anyone entering Dzohkar's room and removing anything from it. Finally, he changed his story again on the 26th and allegedly admitted that he had lied to FBI agents in previous interviews.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov were each charged with "conspiracy to obstruct justice by conspiring to destroy, conceal, and cover up tangible objects belonging to suspected marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev." They face up to five years in prison if convicted. Phillipos was charged with "willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation." He faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.