Two former University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth students were indicted by a federalgrand jury Thursday for removing personal items from Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19 and Kazakhstan nationals on student visas, were charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy.
The indictment alleges that on the evening of April 18, both men did remove and "knowingly alter, destroy, conceal and cover up" several items from Tsarnaev's dorm, including a laptop, a backpack, fireworks and a jar of Vaseline and took them to a dumpster outside their apartment in New Bedford, Mass.
If convicted on the obstruction count alone, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov could both face up to 20 years in prison and up to five years on conspiracy alone. Each charge would be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, according to an FBI news release. Both face the possibility of deportation.
Kadyrbayev received a text from Tsarnaev, which read, "If yu [sic] want you [sic] can go to my room and take what's there :) but ight [sic] bro [sic] salam aleikum," according to the indictment.
Both men were originally charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice on May 1. A third man, Robel Phillipos, 19, was also charged with lying to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation. He was not named in Thursday's statement announcing the indictment.
The Boston Globe reported Phillipos was not indicted alongside Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov. Discussions to resolve his case have been ongoing with federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz's office.
A judge approved a deal with Ortiz's office confining Phillipos to house arrest on May 6. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Tsarnaev, 20, with his brother Tamerlan, allegedly set off two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three people and wounding more than 260 others. The older Tsarnaev died amid a shootout with police officers four days later.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces 30 charges, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction and killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer. He pleaded not guilty to all charges during his first court appearance on July 10.