Nothing more than a tweet from the Boston Police Department;s official account, but that’s spreading like wildfire on Twitter — for understandable reasons:
Three additional suspects taken into custody in Marathon bombing case. Details to follow.
— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) May 1, 2013
Boston Police say three additional suspects taken into custody in Boston Marathon bombing investigation #breaking
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) May 1, 2013
This makes it seem as though Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev weren’t self-radicalized lone wolves after all. We’ll update as more information becomes available.
Update: It’s no hack on the Twitter account, either.
@TheStalwart CNN just said they confirmed with BPD in addition to the tweet. So no hack.
— Jeb (@tatsumaki4ryu) May 1, 2013
We’ll see what the BPD has to say next….
Update: CBS Boston has this report, which doesn’t go much farther than the tweet:
Boston police say three additional suspects have been taken into custody in Boston Marathon bombings investigation.
Their names have not been released. Police said more details will be released later today.
Earlier today, lawyers for two men friendly with suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said their clients have been extensively interviewed by federal investigators.
Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both originally from Kazakhstan, appeared via video for a visa violation hearing in immigration court in Boston on Wednesday.
It may not be these two who got arrested, either.
Update: John Miller at CBS says the arrests are for harboring or aiding the Tsarnaevs after the attack:
John Miller reports three suspects arrested for harboring or aiding the Tsarnaev brothers after the bombing; federal charges expected
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 1, 2013
That could be the two men and the woman in New Bedford who were initially detained, and who were mentioned in the last update.
Update: According to Boston.com, they are “college students”:
Three college students have been arrested in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings, a Boston police source said this morning.
The Boston police official Twitter account said that three additional “suspects” had been taken into custody.
The source said the three had been arrested by federal authorities.
That would also describe the New Bedford trio, at least two of whom were arrested by federal authorities on immigration violations.
Update: This makes it sound like three other students:
RT @JesseRodriguez: NBC's Pete Williams: 3 arrested have been under FBI surveillance for about 10 days; likely took stuff out of dorm room
— Matt Viser (@mviser) May 1, 2013
Update: The update from CBS Boston names the two arrested in New Beford the day after Dzhokhar’s capture, however:
According to CBS News, the arrested are three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Two will be charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statement. They are not U.S. citizens.
According to WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson, their names are Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev. Both are originally from Kazakhstan and attened the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The third suspect, according to CBS News, is an American citizen and he will be charged with making false statements.
How stupid do you have to be to obstruct an investigation of a terrorist bombing? Either you have to be monumentally stupid — or involved in the plot.
Update: The Boston PD wants everyone to know that there is no danger to the public:
UPDATE: Boston Marathon Investigation: Please be advised there is no threat to the public. http://t.co/eAOzq5eHTs
— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) May 1, 2013
CNN is also confirming that two of the three are the students from New Bedford:
A Department of Homeland security source with first-hand knowledge of the investigation, said two of them are students from New Bedford, Massachusetts. They have been arrested on charges of making false statements to investigators and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
A third student had been arrested who is a U.S. citizen, the source said.
We’ll see what their obstruction was when charges are unsealed. According to CBS, the charges are all related to post-bombing activities, but it’s difficult to imagine that anyone would sign up for the plot after the killing took place and it became clear that the FBI and Boston PD were rapidly narrowing the search based on what took place at the marathon.
Update: More from NBC:
Sources told NBC News the three are college roommates of accused bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev and are suspected of removing items from his dorm at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
There was no indication they had any prior knowledge of the bombing. Sources said the FBI had been investigating them for about 10 days.
It’s possible that they were stupid enough to sign up for the plot after it took place. It doesn’t seem terribly likely, though — but prosecutors can only charge what they can prove, too.
Update: Boston’s CBS affiliate has this video update:
There are some good caveats Orr offers, but again, why would anyone lie to the FBI and police days after this bombing on behalf of the Tsarnaevs, unless they had a personal interest in the plot? They could really be that stupid — it’s certainly possible — but it stretches credulity, and I imagine the FBI and Boston PD are thinking the same thing.
Update: The CBS Boston story has been updated to note that the charges will be federal, not state.
Update: According to the Washington Post, the three dumped material at the landfill after the bombings, after Dzhokhar asked them to help him out:
The three were identified as friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who has been charged with carrying out the bombings along with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. The younger brother was a student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, the same school attended by the students at various points in recent months, according to authorities.
Two federal law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing inquiry, said the three disposed of material at a Boston area landfill at the request of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev following the bombings.
The Boston Police said Wednesday that they had arrested three suspects in connection with the bombing but did not identify them or provide further details.
Last week, federal investigators searched a landfill at New Bedford, Mass., after a tip that evidence had been left there.
I wonder if the FBI ever found what they were searching for in that landfill. They have said nothing about it since the search.
Update: What exactly did they dump? According to CNN, they just helped Dzhokhar get rid of … fireworks-filled backpacks:
— A federal law enforcement official told CNN on Wednesday that the charges against two of the individuals taken into custody involve allegedly lying to officials, because when first questioned by the FBI they lied about not seeing the suspects and not knowing their whereabouts after the attack.
— The federal law enforcement source said the charge of conspiring to obstruct justice relates to their moving things from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room and throwing them into a dumpster. The source said the objects disposed of included fireworks inside backpacks. The trash bin subsequently was taken to a nearby landfill. Authorities carried out a two-day search of the landfill in New Bedford late last week.
All right, bear with me here. Let’s say your college roommate asked you to take backpacks filled with fireworks to the dumpster just a day or two after terrorists bombed the city. You might not be bright enough to put two and two together just on that account. But when the FBI shows up afterward, why not just tell them, “Hey, Joe told me to dump some backpacks that had fireworks in them, and I’ll show you where I took them”? Lying at that point is either a demonstration of incurable stupidity or some form of collusion.