Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadrybayev, Robel Phillipos Arrested in Boston Bombing Cover-Up

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Three friends of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested this week for evidence tampering and lying to investigators in an attempt to cover up his role in the marathon attack.

Two exchange students from Kazakhstan, Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, and Dias Kadrybayev, 19, are accused of “knowingly destroying, concealing and covering up objects belonged to (Dzhokhar), namely a backpack containing fireworks,” according to the criminal complaint.

A third suspect arrested is an American citizen, 19-year-old Robel Phillipos. He is charged with making false statements to police.

Kadrybayev texted Dzhokhar when he saw what appeared to be photographs of his friend on the news named as suspect in the Boston bombings. “LOL,” Dzhokhar texted back. “You better not text me,” he added. “Come to my room and take whatever you want.”

That same night, his brother Tamerlan died in a shootout with police and Dzhokhar reportedly drove over his body, dragging it along as he escaped police.

Kadrybayev claims he thought the texts were simply a joke. He had a backpack that belonged to Dzhokhar that he said contained spent fireworks. According to the affidavit, Kadrybayev “knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing … [He] decided to remove the backpack from the room in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble.”

Kadrybayev also took Dzhokhar’s laptop and a jar of Vaseline he thought might have been used to make the bombs. He met up with Phillipos and Tazhayakov at Tazhayakov’s home and watched the coverage of the manhunt on TV. Tazhayakov and Kadrybayev disposed of the bag, which was later found in a landfill.

The affidavit, signed by signed by FBI Special Agent Scott P. Ciepik also states that Dzhokhar bragged a month before the bombing that he knew “how to make a bomb.”

The three accused made their first appearance in U.S. District Court in Boston on Wednesday, waiving their right to a bail hearing. Phillipos could face up to eight years in prison; Tazhayakov and Kadrybayev face up to five years.

Sources: NY Post, The New Yorker, Slate