(Corrects 4th paragraph to insert dropped words to read “at accused suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s request”)
By Scott Malone and Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON, May 1 (Reuters) - Three additional suspects have been taken into custody in the investigation of last month’s deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon, the Boston Police Department and a U.S. law enforcement source said on Wednesday.
Officials last month accused two ethnic Chechen brothers of placing homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the marathon on April 15. One died after a gunfight with police three days after the bombing and the other was captured and criminally charged before being sent to a prison hospital to recover from gunshot wounds.
A U.S. law enforcement source said that two of the suspects taken into custody on Wednesday include classmates of the younger brother at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. They are being held by immigration officials for violating the terms of their visas. The source said they are likely to face charges related to obstruction of justice and with making false statements to investigators.
Police are investigating whether the classmates threw away a backpack at accused suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s request after the bombing, which killed three people and injured 264 others. Last week law enforcement officials were seen searching dumps in southeastern Massachusetts.
The third person taken into custody on Wednesday was a U.S. citizen, and all three were being investigated for actions taken after the bombings, the U.S. law enforcement source said.
A Boston police spokeswoman, Katherine Shea, said she had no further details to provide on the suspects after their detention was reported on the department’s official Twitter feed. Police said the arrests posed no danger to the public.
The one man criminally charged with the bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is being held in a prison medical center. The charges carry the possibility of the death penalty. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a gunfight with police.
The lawyer for one of the men detained on Wednesday, identified as Dias Kadyrbayeye, said his client was being held for violations of his student visa.
The lawyer, Robert Stahl, said his client was “not a target” of the bombing investigation, but declined to comment on any other specifics. He said his client had “cooperated fully” with investigators and “wants to go home to Kazakhstan.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body has still not been claimed, a spokesman for the state’s chief medical examiner said.
“We still have not been contacted by the family,” said the spokesman, Terrel Harris.
The parents of the Tsarnaev brothers have said in interviews in the North Caucasus region of Russia that they do not believe their sons were responsible for placing the bombs. (Additional reporting by Aaron Pressman, Tim McLaughlin and Ross Kerber, additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Grant McCool)