Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, and Azamat Tazhayakov, 19, both of New Bedford were charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to obstruct justice by conspiring to destroy, conceal and cover up tangible objects belonging to suspected Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, namely a laptop computer and backpack containing fireworks.
A third man, Robel Phillipos, 19, of Cambridge, was charged with willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation.
According to the complaint, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov hid evidence they found in Tsarnaev's dorm room to protect him after his photo was released the week of the bombings as a potential suspect.
Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev appeared in court Wednesday and agreed to voluntarily detention. Their next hearing is scheduled for May 14. Phillipos also appeared Wednesday in court, where a hearing was scheduled for Monday.Three people were killed and more than 260 injured in the attack when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police several days later. His brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, was captured and lies in a hospital prison. Authorities allege that on the night of April 18, after the FBI released surveillance-camera photos of the bombing suspects and the three men suspected their friend was one of them, they went to Tsarnaev's dorm room. Before Tsarnaev's roommate let them in, Kadyrbayev showed Tazhayakov a text message from Tsarnaev that read: "I'm about to leave if you need something in my room take it," according to the FBI. When Tazhayakov learned of the message, "he believed he would never see Tsarnaev alive again," the FBI said in the affidavit. It was not clear from the court papers whether authorities believe that was an instruction from Tsarnaev to his friends to destroy evidence. Once inside Tsarnaev's room, the men noticed a backpack containing fireworks, which had been opened and emptied of powder, the FBI said. The FBI said that Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the bombings and decided to remove the backpack from the room "in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble." Kadyrbayev also decided to remove Tsarnaev's laptop "because he did not want Tsarnaev's roommate to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack," the FBI said in court papers. After the three men returned to Kadyrbayev's and Tazhayakov's apartment with the backpack and computer, they watched news reports featuring photographs of Tsarnaev. The FBI affidavit said Kadyrbayev told authorities the three men then "collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash because they did not want Tsarnaev to get into trouble." Kadyrbayev said he placed the backpack and fireworks along with trash from the apartment into a large trash bag and threw it into a garbage bin near the men's apartment. According to the criminal complaint, on April 26 law enforcement agents recovered Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's backpack from a landfill in New Bedford, where they believed it had been dumped from the garbage from his friends' Carriage Drive apartment complex. Inside the backpack, agents recovered fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and a UMass-Dartmouth homework assignment sheet. The homework assignment sheet is from a class in which Tsarnaev is currently enrolled. The friends had also taken a laptop from the room, but the criminal complaint does not reveal what happened to it. Federal authorities are believed to be still searching for it. The three were not accused of any involvement in the bombing itself. But in a footnote in the court papers, the FBI said that about a month before the bombing, Tsarnaev told Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev that he knew how to make a bomb. If convicted, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov could get up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Phillipos faces a maximum of eight years behind bars and a $250,000 fine. CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE OF THE BOSTON MARATHON EXPLOSIONS (Some information from the Associated Press)