Federal prosecutors allege that Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, and Azamat Tazhayakov, 19, tried destroy a laptop computer and backpack full of fireworks belonging to the younger Tsarnaev.
The trio studied at one time at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Now they are accused of conspiracy to obstruct investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Massachusetts.
A third man, Robel Phillipos, 19, faced charges of lying to law enforcement officials, who questioned him about the Boston attack carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov live in New Bedford, but they originally came from Kazakhstan. They were already accused of violating the terms of their student visas. Phillipos is from Cambridge, Mass., where Tsarnaev grew up and attended UMass-Dartmouth with the others.
The Boston Police Department took to Twitter to announced that three new suspects were in custody, saying: “Three additional suspects taken into custody in Marathon bombing case. Details to follow.”
“Please be advised that there is not a threat to public safety,” the police announced in a statement. “There is no additional info to release at this time. Additional details will be provided when they become available.”
An FBI agent’s affidavit explained how Tsarnaev’s three friends discovered his role in the Marathon attacks and the steps authorities said they took to conceal it, The Huffington Post reports.
Phillipos called Kadyrbayev to say that Dzhokhar looks quite similar to one of the suspects in the photos released by the FBI on April 18, the affidavit said.
Kadyrbayev texted to Tsarnaev joking about the physical similarities. Tsarnaev wrote back saying “lol” and “you better not text me,” which Kadyrbayev didn’t take seriously.
The three friends met in Tsarnaev’s dorm room later in the night, even though Dzhokhar wasn’t at the place. While watching a movie, they noticed a backpack containing fireworks that had been emptied of the explosive powder.
“Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the Marathon bombing,” Agent Scott Cieplik swore in the affidavit. Kadyrbayev then “decided to remove the backpack from the room in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble.”
Kadyrbayev also took Tsarnaev’s laptop aiming to destroy it with all the information it contained. Tzahayakov told authorities that they also took a jar of Vaseline, which they believed may have been used to produce bombs, the affidavit said.
Tazhayakov told authorities that Tsarnaev picked him up to home from class on April 17, two days after the attack. Authorities claim Tazhayakov said that Kadyrbayev showed him a text message the next day that indicated Tsarnaev would try to flee.
“I’m about to leave if you need something in my room take it,” the text said, according to the affidavit. “When Tazhayakov learned of this message, he believed he would never see Tsarnaev alive again.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in a Massachusetts prison hospital now and he is charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed during a shootout and attempted getaway from police in Watertown, Mass., four days after the Marathon bombing.