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Tsarnaev associate released from federal prison into ICE custody

Azamat Tazhayakov, left, Dias Kadyrbayev, center, and Robel Phillipos, right, college friends of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sat during a hearing in federal court in Boston on May 13, 2014.Jane Flavell Collins via Associated Press/File

A college friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who was convicted of obstruction of justice was released from federal prison Wednesday, a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement official confirmed.

Dias Kadyrbayev, who is now 24, pleaded guilty in August 2014 to conspiracy and obstruction of justice for going into Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth after he recognized Tsarnaev in FBI photos released to the public.

Kadyrbayev searched the room and took Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and a backpack containing explosive powder from fireworks. He also threw the backpack away, but authorities found it in a landfill.

On Wednesday, Kadyrbayev, who is a citizen of Kazakhstan, was transferred from Federal Bureau of Prisons custody to ICE custody, according to John Mohan, an ICE spokesman. Kadyrbayev is slated for deportation.


“Mr. Kadyrbayev remains in ICE custody pending his imminent removal from the United States to Kazakhstan,” Mohan said in a statement.

Kadyrbayev was transferred to ICE’s custody at a location in Texas, where his removal from the United States is pending, an ICE official said.

Kadyrbayev was not involved in the April 2013 Marathon attacks that killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and wounded more than 260 others, and he did not know of Tsarnaev’s plans. However, authorities have said he could have done more to prevent the fatal shooting of MIT police Officer Sean Collier and the police shootout in Watertown that followed, crimes that happened days after the Marathon bombings.

According to prosecutors, Kadyrbayev exchanged text messages with Tsarnaev after he identified him in FBI photos, saying “U saw the news?” and then “u saw urself there?” Collier was shot to death several hours after Kadyrbayev recognized Tsarnaev in the FBI photos.

Messages left with Kadyrbayev’s attorney were not immediately returned Wednesday evening.

Kadyrbayev had been incarcerated at a federal prison in Big Spring, Texas, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website.


In 2015, Kadyrbayev apologized to the victims of the Marathon bombings and their families, saying he failed to prevent Tsarnaev’s crimes.

“I regret it every day,” he said.

He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Kadyrbayev is the last of a trio of Tsarnaev’s friends who were convicted for their roles in covering up for him to be released from behind bars.

Azamat Tazhayakov, another college friend of Tsarnaev, was sentenced in June 2015 to 42 months in prison for obstruction of justice for lying to investigators about the last time he saw Tsarnaev before the bombings, and for discarding items he found in Tsarnaev’s dorm room, including the backpack containing fireworks. He completed his prison term in 2016.

Robel Phillipos, who attended high school with Tsarnaev in Cambridge, was convicted of lying to the FBI in the days after the April 2013 bombing and was sentenced to three years in prison.

A federal appeals court last year rejected Phillipos’s bid to overturn his conviction. He was released from prison earlier this year.

Prosecutors said Kadyrbayev was the one who actively searched Tsarnaev’s room.

Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015 for his role in the Marathon bombings. He was sentenced to death.

His older brother and coconspirator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in the Watertown shootout in the days following the Marathon bombings.


In a July filing, lawyers for Tsarnaev flagged about 30 issues they plan to raise when he appeals his death sentence. Among the issues identified by his team in that filing were ones concerning venue, jury selection, admission of evidence, and improper prosecutorial arguments.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Travis Andersen, Maria Cramer, and Milton J. Valencia of the Globe staff contributed. Danny McDonald can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.