The criminal charges made public Wednesday do not allege that any of the three newly arrested men were involved in the bombings or knew about any plans. But these men could potentially face years in prison for obstructing justice.
Mr. Kadyrbayev and Mr. Tazhayakov, who are Kazakhstan nationals studying in the US, have been held in jail for more than a week on allegations that they violated their student visas. Now they are charged with conspiring to destroy, conceal, and cover up tangible objects belonging to the suspected bomber. That could carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine.
Mr. Phillipos, a US citizen residing in Cambridge, Mass., is charged with “willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation.” That carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The complaint, written by FBI Special Agent Scott Cieplik, alleges that on the night of April 18, after the investigators released photos of the bombing suspects and asked the public for help finding them, the three men suspected their friend was one of the bombers. They went to Tsarnaev's dorm room, where his roommate let them in. While there they found a backpack containing fireworks, which had been opened and emptied of powder.
According to the FBI account, Kadyrbayev said he knew when he saw the empty fireworks that his friend was involved in the bombings and decided to remove the backpack from the room "in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble." He also saw a jar of Vaseline in the room, and identified it to his friends as a bombmaking material, the complaint says.