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Tsarnaev friends indicted in Boston Marathon bombing case

Two students from Kazakhstan are accused of taking a computer and backpack from suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's room after the bombings.

August 08, 2013|By Richard A. Serrano
  • Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly texted a friend after the attack, asking him to go to his dorm room and "take what's there." Two students were indicted in the case Thursday.
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly texted a… (FBI )

WASHINGTON — Hours after the FBI released surveillance images of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sent a college friend a hurried text message asking him to go to his dorm room and "take what's there."

"If yu want yu can go to my room and take what's there," he texted on April 18, three days after the bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Tsarnaev ended with "salam aleikum," Arabic for "peace be upon you."

According to a federal grand jury indictment issued Thursday in Boston, Dias Kadyrbayev showed the text to a mutual friend, Azamat Tazhayakov. The two allegedly went to Tsarnaev's room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and removed his laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, a thumb drive and other items, taking it all to their apartment in nearby New Bedford.

The indictment charges the two 19-year-old students from Kazakhstan with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the bombing investigation. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as deportation.

Kadyrbayev told Tazhayakov that he believed Tsarnaev had used the Vaseline "to make bombs," or words to that effect, the indictment said. The fireworks had been "opened and manipulated," the indictment said, and "some of the explosive powder was visible."

The two stuffed the backpack in a garbage bag and dropped it into a trash receptacle outside, the indictment said. The next morning they watched a garbage truck haul it away. Police recovered the items in a New Bedford landfill.

Tsarnaev was captured and arrested April 19, shortly after his brother, Tamerlan, was killed in a police shootout. His two college friends were taken into custody several days later and were charged in a criminal complaint May 1.

The indictment states that Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, who both had student visas, entered the United States about September 2011. They and Tsarnaev "were friends, spent time together socializing, and often exchanged text messages with each other," the indictment said.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov have not entered pleas to the indictment and are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

The indictment describes a third, unnamed "co-conspirator." A third student, Robel Phillipos, was arrested with Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov on suspicion of lying to FBI agents, and later was assigned to home detention while reportedly cooperating with federal authorities.

On Thursday, Phillipos' attorney, Derege B. Demissie, notified the court in Boston that his client would waive a preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday because "the parties are engaged in negotiations aimed at possible resolution of this matter."

Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler granted the request and canceled the hearing.

richard.serrano@latimes.com

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