WASHINGTON -- The FBI has taken three people into custody in Massachusetts and prosecutors prepared to charge them with obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators after the Boston bombing case, officials said, but authorities do not believe they played a role in planning the attack.
The three include two Kazakh immigrants, Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, and Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, identified as friends of accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and a third person who is a U.S. citizen but whose name was not released. The three are expected to face charges before a federal judge in Boston on Wednesday afternoon.
The FBI is trying to determine if Kadyrbayev and Tazhaykov, who were arrested last week on immigration charges, tried to remove items from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where all three were students, after his name surfaced as a suspect in the April 15 bombings, according to a law enforcement official.
Investigators do not believe the three helped plan the twin bombings near the Boston Marathon finish line, which killed three people and injured more than 260. They are looking at the trio’s actions and statements after the FBI released photographs and identified Dzjokhar Tsarnaev and his elder brother, Tamerlan, as prime suspects.
A vanity license plate on a car registered to Kadyrbayev was featured on Dzhokhar Tsarnarev’s Twitter feed in March. The license reads “Terrorista #1.” Before the bombing, he sometimes visited the Kazakh students in an off-campus apartment in New Bedford, southeast of Boston.
The FBI questioned the pair on April 19. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested them for allegedly violating immigration laws on April 20, and they have been held at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston.
Evidence teams combed several landfills in the New Bedford area last week looking for sales receipts, bomb parts or other evidence that might have been discarded from Dzhokhar Tsarnarev’s dorm room or the New Bedford apartment.
The Boston Police Department said in online posts Wednesday that the three were in custody and that there is “no threat to the public.”