Two lazy exchange students who palled around with alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Times Square last year were arrested Wednesday for allegedly tossing out a backpack filled with fireworks at the suspect’s request after the attack.
And third man was charged with lying to federal investigators.
The suspects, Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, and Robel Phillipos, 19, were former University of Massachusetts classmates of Tsarnaev.
Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev — who were arrested a few days after the bombing on an unrelated immigration violation — are charged with “knowingly destroying, concealing, and covering up objects belonging to (Tsarnaev), namely a backpack containing fireworks with the intent to impede, obstruct and influence the criminal investigation of the Marathon bombing,” according to a criminal complaint.
The affidavit alleged Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev agreed to get rid of the pack after concluding from news reports that Tsarnaev was one of the bombers.
The fireworks were empty of gunpowder, the complaint said.
Phillipos also allegedly helped dispose of items in Tsarnaev’s dorm three days after the attack.
The Boston Marathon bombing claimed three lives and injured 260.
The trio is expected to appear in court at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Tsarnaev allegedly slept at Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev’s New Bedford apartment the day of the April 15 attack, as well as the day after.
The duo often drove around in a BMW with with a vanity license plate that read, “Terrorista #1.”
Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, and Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, shared this BMW with the vanity plate reading “TERRORISTA #1.
The two bozos have been held in jail for a week for violating their student visas by failing to regularly attend classes. They had appeared in immigration court Wednesday morning via video, but the marathon attack was not mentioned and their case was continued.
A photo from April 2012 shows Tsarnaev, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev posing in Times Square. The image became especially chilling after authorities said Tsarnaev and his demented brother, Tamerlan, had decided on a whim to attack the same tourist destination after their Boston massacre, cops said.
But Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev have no connection to terrorism, said lawyer Robert Stahl, claiming the pair was simply drawn to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because he spoke Russian.
“These kids are just as shocked and horrified about what happened as everyone else,” Stahl said last week. “They can’t even fathom something like this from a kid who seemed to be a typical young college student.”
The Boston Police Department broke the news of the arrests on Twitter Wednesday just after 11 a.m., emphasizing that the city’s safety was not at risk.
Investigators have previously said they were examining whether the suspected bombers worked alone when hatching their plan to detonate two pressure cookers near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They are also eyeing the five tense days following the attacks, when the Tsarnaev brothers reportedly acted as if nothing was wrong.
The Chechens engaged in a fierce gun battle with cops after being identified as suspects by the feds, authorities say. Tamerlan was killed in the shootout. Dzhokhar was gravely wounded and captured. He is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and could face the death penalty.
Also on Wednesday Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, declined to receive his body. She said the bullet-riddled corpse should be claimed by Tsarnaev’s side of the family.
The brothers’ outspoken uncle — who loudly labeled them “losers” in a press conference — said he would accept Tamerlan’s corpse.
“Of course, family members will take possession of the body,” uncle Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press Tuesday night. “We’ll do it. We will do it. A family is a family.”
Read more: NY Daily News