Three days after the Boston Marathon bombings, two UMass-Dartmouth classmates of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went to Tsarnaev's dorm room and removed some of his belongings, including a laptop and a backpack filled with fireworks. The bomber had texted them, “If yu [sic] want yu [sic] can go to my room and take what’s there but ight [sic] bra [sic] Salam aleikum." (Or something.) Later that night, one of the friends, 19-year-old Dias Kadyrbayev, put the items in a dumpster behind his apartment. They'd later turn up in a New Bedford dump.
Dzhokhar was on the run. At that point, he and his brother were bombing suspects.
So today, Kadyrbayev and 19-year-old Azamat Tazhayakov were indicted by a grand jury on obstruction of justice charges for "allegedly trying to impede the Boston Marathon terror bombing investigation." The Kazakhstan natives haven't been accused of helping to plan the attack—instead, a jury has decided there's sufficient evidence to convict them of hiding evidence of Dzhokhar's guilt after they learned he was a wanted man.
Obstruction of justice charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Conspiring to obstruct justice could tack on five more years. Needless to say, they'd also be deported after the prison time.
There's a pretty important lesson to be found in this sad story: Be really careful if you're asked to blindly help out a college buddy, even a close friend. Tsarnaev seemed totally normal—his Twitter friends that I talked to were in a total state of disbelief that someone this laid-back could do something so monstrous. But just because a friend seems normal, doesn't mean you're obligated to break the law to help him out. Especially if the outcome turns out like this.