Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Three More Arrested in Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation

Three acquaintances of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested on Wednesday afternoon for lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice after admitting to removing evidence from Tsarnaev's dorm room at UMass-Dartmouth after the Patriot's Day terrorist attack.
BOSTON (AP) — Three college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested and accused Wednesday of removing a backpack containing hollowed-out fireworks from Tsarnaev's dorm room three days after the attack to keep him from getting into trouble.

In court papers, the FBI said one of them threw the backpack in the garbage — it was later found in a landfill by law enforcement officers — after they concluded from news reports that Tsarnaev was one of the bombers.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, who are from Kazakhstan, were 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.

At a court appearance in the afternoon, the Kazakh men did not request bail and will be held for another hearing May 14. Phillipos was held for a hearing on Monday. Their lawyers refused to comment ahead of the proceeding.
All three men charged had been attending UMass-Dartmouth around the same time as the younger Tsarnaev brother. Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev were detained on charges they had violated their student visas last week. Not only was Tazhaykov allowed back into the USA from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan back in January, but Tsarnaev had reportedly bragged to the two Kazakhs that he knew how to make a bomb about a month before the Marathon bombings.

Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev were reportedly in communication with Dzhokhar after the FBI press conference on April 18th where images of the two brothers pulled from surveillance cameras were released to the general public. The younger Tsarnaev communicated with the two Kazakhs via text message and reportedly removed a backpack, Vaseline and Dzhokhar's laptop computer from the dorm room and threw the items in the garbage. Police later recovered the items from a nearby landfill.

It was also reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia rejected Tamerlan Tsarnaev's visa application to make the pilgrimage to Mecca in 2011 although the Saudi ambassador to the USA denies that the kingdom sent written warnings about the older Boston Marathon bombing suspect to the Department of Homeland Security and officials in the UK.

There were also reports that a woman's DNA was found on one of the pressure cooker IEDs. Federal agents in Rhode Island collected a sample from Katherine Russell- Tamerlan Tsarnaev's American wife- for comparison.

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