Boston Marathon bombings: Police arrest 3 new suspects [Updated]

The criminal complaint charges that days after the bombing, the three young men threw away their friend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's backpack containing fireworks

The three arrested allegedly attended University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
(Image credit: Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)

The Boston Police Department has announced that three additional suspects have been arrested in the Boston Marathon bombings case. Police have assured people that there is no threat to public safety.

The new suspects reportedly did not help carry out the gruesome bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others, but are instead accused of helping Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the fact.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who said he was briefed on the investigation, told reporters it's his understanding that the suspects had nothing to do with the bombings but helped the suspect after the fact. [Associated Press]

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According to CBS News, at least two of the new suspects are college friends of 19-year-old bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They knew each other from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

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The Associated Press reports that Linda Cristello, a Boston attorney, has confirmed that two of the new suspects are Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, friends of Tsarnaev's from Kazakhstan who garnered press attention last week when they showed up in court for allegedly violating their visa status.

Federal prosecutors said that Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, both 19, are being charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice for throwing away a laptop and backpack containing fireworks that belonged to Tsarnaev, according to The Boston Globe. They face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The third suspect, according to The Boston Globe, is 19-year-old Robel Phillipos, who was charged with making false statements to law enforcement officials about making a visit to Tsarnaev's dorm room after the attacks.

According to the criminal complaints filed against Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, Phillipos told Kadyrbayev on the phone to turn on the TV because one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects looked like Tsarnaev. Kadyrbayev then texted Tsarnaev to tell him the same thing, to which Tsarnaev replied, "lol."

Later that night, Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and Phillipos went to Tsarnaev's dorm room to watch a movie when they noticed fireworks. That's when they reportedly decided that Tsarnaev was probably the bomber and resolved to throw the backpack containing the fireworks away, according to the complaints.

Kadyrbayev also took the laptop "because he didn't want Tsarnaev's roommate to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack," according to the complaints. Then Kadyrbayev allegedly combined it with trash from the dorm building and threw it away in a nearby dumpster. The backpack was recovered a week later at a landfill in New Bedford, Mass. by police.

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Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.