Texts Land Boston Suspect's Friends in Hot Water

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Three friends of Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are being charged in last month's bombing.

They're accused of removing evidence, lying to investigators, and obstructing justice in the aftermath of the April 15 attack.

The FBI says two of the three men -- Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, both 19 -- recognized their college friend, Dzhokhar, from surveillance photos on television. One of the teens sent a text to Tsarnaev asking if he was the bomber.

His response: "LOL." Then he texted, "Come to my room and take whatever you want."

According to the FBI, the two friends took a backpack with hollowed out fireworks, and a computer. They then threw them in a dumpster behind their apartment.

In federal court Wednesday, the teens' attorneys denied their clients had done anything wrong.

"They did not intentionally or knowingly destroy evidence," Robert Stahl, lawyer for Dias Kadyrbayev, said.

"He has cooperated fully with the authorities and he looks forward to the truth coming out in this case," Harlan Protass, lawyer for Azamat Tazhayakov, said.

The two young men from Kazakhstan are in the United States on student visas.

But federal law enforcement officials say Tazhayakov's visa was terminated in January after he was academically dismissed from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Despite not having a valid student visa, he was still allowed to re-enter the country.

Officials say the two are not accused of being involved in the attack. But court papers show one suspect told investigators Tsarnaev had bragged about knowing how to make a bomb nearly a month before the Boston attacks.

The third person arrested -- Robell Phillipose -- was a high school friend of Tzarnaev. He's charged with lying to investigators.

Tsarnaev's friends face five to eight years in prison if convicted and a $250,000 fine.

Meanwhile, police and lawmakers across the United States are pushing to have more surveillance networks set up on their streets. Surveillance video helped identify the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.