Kyrgyzstan native charged with obstructing Marathon bombing inve - New York News

Kyrgyzstan native charged with obstructing Marathon bombing investigation

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A Kyrgyzstan native has been charged in connection to the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. He was arraigned Friday and will be held without bail until until he is due back in court next week.

>> READ: Complete indictment<<

Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, of Quincy, is charged with one count of destroying, altering, and falsifying records, documents, and tangible objects in a federal investigation, and three counts of making materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in a federal terrorism investigation.

Neighbors told FOX 25 FBI and SWAT teams descended on Matanov's Quincy apartment at about 5:30 a.m. Friday. He was escorted out in handcuffs just after 6 a.m.

Investigators say Matanov was friends with accused bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and knew his brother, Dzhokhar. They allege Matanov had dinner with the Tsarnaevs on the night of April 15, 2013. After the dinner, Matanov spoke with an unidentified witness.

"When Witness 1 told Matanov that Witness 1 hoped that the Boston Marathon bombers were not Muslim, Matanov initially responded that the bombings could have had a just reason, such as being done in the name of Islam, that he would support the bombings if the reason were just or the attack had been done by the Taliban, and that the victims had gone to paradise," reads an indictment.

Investigators claim Matanov continued to have contact with the Tsarnaev brothers throughout the week, last trying to make contact with Dzhokhar via his cell phone at 7:17 a.m. on April 19, the day he was captured in Watertown. He reportedly told witness 1 that photos of the bombers were released and that he knew them.

Matanov works as a cab driver. Just before 7 a.m., he received a call from a regular customer for a ride. During the ride, the pair listened to radio reports that mentioned the Cambridge address of the alleged bombers. He told the passenger he recognized that address as his friend's home. He picked up the same passenger later in the day, who suggested he speak with a police sergeant the passenger knew at the Braintree Police Department. Matanov and the passenger then drove to the police station so he could be interviewed.

After the interview, officials allege Matanov asked witness 1 to keep one or two of his cell phones, a request that he made to another witness earlier in the day. Both of them refused.

Witness 1 also refused to help him reformat his computer. He then deleted information from his computer, which the FBI was able to restore.

"The deletions included references to the video of the suspected bombers released by the FBI on April 18, 2013, at approximately 5:15 p.m., two of the photographs of the bombers released at approximately the same time, and a photograph of Officer Sean Collier, who had been allegedly killed by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev on the evening of April 18, 2013," reads the indictment.

The government claims in addition to deleting information, the 23-year-old made a number of false statements to investigators.

Matanov faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for destruction of evidence and eight years for each false statement count. He also faces a maximum of three years supervised release on all four counts and a fine of $250,000.

The 23-year-old is not accused of participating in the bombings or knowing about them in advance.

In court Friday, Matanov said that he was unable to afford an attorney. His court appointed lawyer said he went to some sort of police academy overseas for a brief time and then to Quincy College briefly. Matanov came to this country on a student visa and was seeking political asylum, according to his lawyer. He completed two years of law school in Russia, but couldn't get into a law school here in the U.S. He has been a cab driver for two years, is single and has no prior criminal record.

He was held without bail Friday and is due next in court on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

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