Suspect Arrested For Obstruction In Boston Marathon Investigation

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A fifth man has been arrested in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings and charged with obstructing the investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston says.

Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, was arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force Friday morning. Matanov, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan who entered the United States lawfully in 2010, bought Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev dinner the day of the marathon bombings, according to the indictment.

Matanov is charged with “one count of destroying, altering, and falsifying records, documents, and tangible objects in a federal investigation, specifically information on his computer, and three counts of making materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in a federal terrorism investigation,” investigators said in a statement.

“About forty minutes after the bombings, at approximately 3:31 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2013, Matanov called Tamerlan Tsarnaev and invited him to dinner that night. Tamerlan accepted. That night, Matanov bought Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev dinner at a restaurant,” the indictment states.

Prosecutors say Matanov spoke to a witness later that evening about the bombings and said the bombers “could have had a just reason, such as being done in the name of Islam, that he would support the bombings if the reason were just or the attack had been done by the Taliban, and that the victims had gone to paradise.”

When photos of the suspects were released on April 18, 2013, “Matanov realized that the FBI would likely want to talk with him because of his ties to the bombers, especially in the week following the bombings,” United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement.

“Matanov allegedly then took a series of steps to impede the FBI’s investigation into the extent of his friendship, contact, and communication with the suspected bombers, and the fact that he shared the suspected bombers’ philosophical justification for violence,” Ortiz said. “In addition to deleting information from his computer, Matanov made a number of false statements to federal investigators. The indictment does not charge Matanov with participating in the Marathon bombings or knowing about them ahead of time.”

“Matanov participated in a variety of activities with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, including discussing religious topics and hiking up a New Hampshire mountain in order to train like, and praise, the ‘mujahideen,’” prosecutors wrote in the indictment.

He is expected to make an appearance in U.S. District Court in Boston this afternoon.

Sources: WCVB, CBS Boston