Quincy man charged for obstructing Marathon bombing investigation

A Quincy cabdriver was charged Friday for obstructing the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings, according to federal prosecutors.

An indictment unsealed Friday charged Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, with one count of destroying, altering and falsifying records, documents and tangible objects in a federal investigation and three counts of making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement in a federal investigation involving international and domestic terrorism, the indictment stated.

Matanov, a Kyrgyzstan citizen who moved to the United States legally in 2010, lives and works in Massachusetts. Shortly after moving to the Commonwealth, Matanov met Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his late brother Tamerlan, the two men accused of planting the bombs at the marathon finish line.

“In the hours and days following the bombings, Matanov contacted and attempted to contact Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by cellphone and saw Tamerlan in person at least twice,” the indictment stated.

Matanov took the Tsarnaev brothers out for dinner on the night of the bombings and in the days following the incident, Matanov continued to contact the bombing suspects and show support for the bombings, according to the indictment.

However, he is not charged with participating in the bombings or knowing about them in advance. The indictment alleges that Matanov did not realize the brothers were the bombing suspects until the Federal Bureau of Investigation publically released photos of them on April 18.

Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, allegedly laid the pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded over 260 on April 15, 2013 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They are also accused of killing Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department Officer Sean Collier when attempting to flee after the FBI released their photos three days after the bombings.

Tamerlan was killed early on April 19 after leading officers on a chase into Watertown. Dzhokhar was captured later that day after hiding in a landlocked boat. He has pleaded not guilty to federal charges and is awaiting trial that could bring him the death penalty.

Matanov made his final call to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at 7:17 a.m. on April 19, according to the indictment.

Later that morning, Matanov spoke to the Braintree Police Department about his relationship with the Tsarnaev brothers. He provided them with details about the suspects, including their phone number, but also included information that he “intended to be false and misleading.”

Following the interview with the police, Matanov asked someone, identified as a witness in the indictment, to help him reformat his computer and delete a large amount of data, much of which was restored by the FBI at a later date.

“Matanov’s deletions have thus obstructed the FBI’s investigation of the bombings and the suspected bombers, and have caused the FBI to expend considerable additional resources during its investigation of the bombings and the suspected bombers,” the indictment stated.

Matanov made an initial appearance at the U.S. District Court in Boston on Friday and is expected to return to court on Wednesday.

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