Boston Marathon bombing: Three college friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with interfering in investigation as it emerges one did not hold a valid US visa

Two men charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, the third with making false statements to investigators

New York

Three college friends of 19 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston marathon bombing suspect, have been charged with interfering with the investigation following the attack.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both students from Kazakhstan, have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by throwing away a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop computer belonging to Dzhokhar, who is accused to planting the bombs near the marathon finish line on 15 April with his elder brother Tamerlan. A third man, an American citizen named Robel Phillipos, has been charged with lying to investigators.

It has emerged that Tazhayakov was allowed to return to the US from Kazakhstan in January despite not having a valid student visa.

The government acknowledged that US Customs and Border Protection was unaware that the student was no longer in college when he was let back into the US.

The disclosure was another instance of possible lapses by the government in the months before the bombings.

Dzhokhar was captured on 19 April and has since been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for his role in the marathon attack. 26-year-old Tamerlan was killed during a police shootout in the early hours of 19 April.

The three men charged earlier today attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, the college where Dzhokhar was a student. Mr Tazhayakov and Mr Kadyrbayev were already facing accusations of having overstayed their student visas, and had appeared in immigration court hours before the charges related to the bombing investigation were announced.

If convicted, the two Kazakhs face up to five years in jail, along with fines of $250,000, while Mr Phillipos faces a maximum jail term of eight years. Mr Phillipos also faces a possible $250,000 fine.

According to court documents, the three have admitted to removing Dzhokhar's backpack from his room at the university on 18 April, the same day that FBI investigators released images showing Dzhokhar and Tamerlan near the marathon finish line shortly before the two explosions. They had not been identified at the time.

The criminal complaint recounts how Dias Kadyrbayev texted Dzhokhar after thinking that one of the suspects in the FBI images looked like him. Tsarnaev is said to have responded with texts containing “lol” and “you better not text me” and “come to my room and take whatever you want.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect