The FBI launched intensive surveillance of a friend of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers last year, tracking him by car through the area and at one point urging him to stay away from Boston on the Fourth of July, authorities said Wednesday.
FBI agents were under orders to “make sure they stay with Mr. [Khairullozhon] Matanov, and don’t lose him,” FBI Special Agent Timothy McElroy told US Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in court. He said that Matanov knew about the surveillance and that “it was not covert in any manner.”
McElroy said the FBI also asked Matanov to stay away from Boston’s July 4 festivities because “for obvious reasons, the city was on edge.” Matanov was also asked by agents to avoid Boston on Patriots Day, or April 21 of this year, when the first Boston Marathon since the April 15, 2013, bombings was held, McElroy said.
He said that the 23-year-old cab driver from Quincy, who by then had obtained a lawyer, complied with the requests.
Matanov had first contacted authorities four days after the bombings to say he knew the Tsarnaev brothers. He was arrested last week on charges of obstruction of justice, accused of allegedly destroying computer documents in an attempt to hide his relationship with the Tsarnaev brothers.
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