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Man linked to gun said 'bomber' was best friend

gardens-of-secrets:

By DENISE LAVOIE
Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - A man linked to a gun used to kill a university police officer days after the Boston Marathon bombings told police he smoked marijuana every day because, in his words, “my best friend was the bomber,” according to court documents.

Stephen Silva was arrested Monday on charges of heroin trafficking and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number. The same gun was used to kill MIT police Officer Sean Collier during a manhunt for the bombing suspects, according to two people with knowledge of the case who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Silva, 21, was a high school classmate and a close friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260. Collier, 26, was ambushed several days later and shot multiple times in his car.

Silva was arrested on marijuana charges at a train station in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood in November. According to court documents, after transit police found two bags of marijuana and a wad of $555 in cash in Silva’s pockets, he repeatedly told them, “I smoke a lot of weed every day because my best friend was the bomber.”

George Hinson, who attended the Cambridge Rindge and Latin school with Silva, Silva’s twin brother and Tsarnaev, said Silva’s arrest came as a shock.

"He would not have given (Tsarnaev) the gun or hidden it if he knew he was a terrorist," Hinson said. "Tsarnaev probably gave him a different story. He probably just wanted to make sure his friend was protected."

Hinson said Silva and his twin brother, Steven, both initially enrolled at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went, but the twins eventually transferred to the UMass campus in Boston.

"Steven was the pretty boy. Stephen was sort of the laid-back one," Hinson said.

Cordelia van Heeckeren, who lives on the same floor of the high-rise apartment building in Cambridge where the Silva twins lived with their parents, said she was stunned when she saw FBI agents with hacksaws and other tools preparing to enter the Silvas’ apartment Monday. She said both twins seemed to have a regular group of friends and were generally well-behaved.

Jonathan Shapiro, an attorney for Stephen Silva, pronounced STEF’-an, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday. On Tuesday, after Silva made his initial appearance in court, Shapiro said he had received the case only a few hours earlier.

"According to news reports, law-enforcement officials say it is the same weapon that was used … in the MIT officer Sean Collier shooting. However, this has not been charged in the indictment," he said.

Shapiro said in a statement that he was in the process of meeting with his client and reviewing evidence in the case.

The court documents did not explain whether Silva believed his friend was the bomber because of news reports or through other knowledge. They also did not elaborate on why he said he smoked marijuana because of what he believed was his friend’s role in the bombing.

According to the indictment, Silva received the gun in or around February 2013. It said the gun “had the importer’s and manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, and altered and had previously been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.”

The gun was recovered in suburban Watertown after Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, allegedly shot at police and threw pipe bombs at them during the manhunt. Watertown police have said Tamerlan Tsarnaev fired the gun at them and then threw it at them when it ran out of bullets.

The indictment also alleges that Silva conspired to distribute heroin this summer in the Boston area.

Silva was ordered to remain in custody and a bail hearing was scheduled for Aug. 6.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the shootout with police several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped but was soon found, wounded and hiding in a boat dry-docked in a backyard in Watertown.

He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in November. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. His lawyer, Miriam Conrad, declined to comment on Silva’s statement to police in the marijuana case.

Four other men have charged in the bombing investigation.

On Monday, a federal jury found Azamat Tazhayakov guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for trying to protect Tsarnaev by agreeing with another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, to get rid of a backpack and disable fireworks they took from his dorm room. Kadyrbayev is to be tried next month on the same charges.

Robel Phillipos, who is charged with lying to investigators about being in the dorm room with Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov the night the items were taken, is to have a separate trial in September. And a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Khairulluzon Matanov, is to be tried next year on charges that he lied to investigators about the extent of his friendship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the contact he had with both brothers in the days following the bombings.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

let-goletgod:

I saw his mugshot and searched his name. Mugshots bring the ugly in you, but this is Stephen Silva.

http://masslawyersweekly.com/2014/07/23/looking-into-leaks-in-tsarnaev/

Close friend of Marathon bombing suspect had been arrested eight months ago for dealing pot - Metro - The Boston Globe

meenamaekay:

A close friend of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect — who was taken into federal custody this week on heroin and gun charges — was also arrested eight months ago for dealing marijuana in Dorchester, and told police then, “I smoke a lot of weed every day because my best friend was the bomber.”

Stephen Silva’s charges for peddling marijuana at an MBTA station at JFK/UMass preceeded his appearance in federal court on Tuesday on heroin trafficking and gun charges, including allegations that in February 2013 he possessed a Ruger gun, which had an obliterated serial number and matched the model of a pistol allegedly used in the shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier.

Collier was allegedly shot by Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, while they were on the run from authorities on the night of April 18, 2013.

Federal law enforcement and MIT officials have declined to say whether the gun charge that Silva faces is related to the shooting of Collier, however a Cambridge police official acknowledged that federal prosecutors briefed top officers in the department about Silva’s arrest.

Silva, 21, of Cambridge, was charged this week with dealing heroin on six occasions in June in Medford in addition to the gun charge. A grand jury had indicted him on the heroin and gun charges a week ago, however he was not arrested until Monday night. He is currently being held by federal authorities.

A longtime Cambridge friend of Silva’s, who saw him as recently as last week, said it was well-known among many friends that Silva dealt marijuana. But this friend said he was “stunned” that Silva was involved with selling heroin or possibly providing guns to others. The friend, who asked to remain anonymous because he does not want to get involved in the criminal case, said Silva was part of a group of friends from Cambridge who enjoyed getting high, enjoying rap music, and cracking jokes.

“We were just chilling and smoking,” the friend said. “It’s summertime - we just chill.”

He said the subject of guns never came up in conversations, and he never saw Silva or any of his friends with weapons.

“I’ve never seen any of these dudes with guns,” said this friend.

He also said that Silva, whose family is from Cape Verde, did not have a summer job as far as he knew, and he often seemed low on cash.

One fall day last year, however, Silva allegedly carried extensive amounts of money while at an MBTA stop in Dorchester, records show.

Silva was arrested on Nov. 21, 2013 at about 12:45 p.m. at the JFK/UMass Red line station, records say. MBTA transit police officers apparently smelled a strong odor of marijuana as Silva walked around the station and spoke on a Virgin Mobile cellphone. Police questioned him, and Silva allegedly consented to a search. Officers said they found at least two packets of marijuana, $555 in cash and a piece of paper with a list of names, which appeared to relate to Silva’s marijuana-buying clients, according to the court record.

While waiting to be booked, records say, Silva told officers that he smoked copious amount of pot because “my best friend was the bomber.”

Five days later, police investigators applied for a search warrant for the messages, phone calls, photos and videos on Silva’s Virgin Mobile cellphone, saying it might provide important information on his suppliers and a larger drug-trafficking operation. Officers said that even if Silva was a “street level” drug dealer and “near the bottom” of a drug-dealing enterprise, his cellphones could provide police with his higher-level contacts.

In the application, officers noted that Silva also had an iPhone, but they concluded it was for personal use, and they only requested records related to the Virgin Mobile phone, which they believe was used for drug transactions.

Court records suggest that police obtained permission for the search, and records from that cellphone were given to police in early December of last year.

Silva attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and also worked with Tsarnaev as lifeguards at Harvard University’s pool. Silva also has an identical twin brother with the very similar name of Steven Silva, who was even closer to Tsarnaev, according to several friends. Steven Silva and Tsarnaev attended UMass-Dartmouth together.

A supervisor at Harvard’s Blodgett pool said he was surprised to hear that Stephen Silva was arrested on charges of heroin dealing and that he possibly provided a gun to Tsarnaev. The supervisor said he knew the Silva twins and Tsarnaev for at least two years, when they worked part-time at the pool. He said after Tsarnaev’s arrest in connection with the bombing, the twins started routinely missing shifts of work and “they drifted off.”

The supervisor, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized by the university to speak publicly, said he is aware that after the bombing, the FBI questioned the twins extensively, and even examined their cellphones and computers. Both twins were aware they needed legal advice given the scrutiny on them as close friends of Tsarnaev.

The supervisor said he recalled Steve Silva as being closer to Tsarnaev. While in high school, Steve Silva converted to Islam, the same faith as the Tsarnaev family. The Silva twins apparently grew up in a Catholic household.

The supervisor said he happened to run into Stephen Silva two weeks ago in Harvard Square. He said they chatted, and Silva said he was continuing his studies at UMass-Boston. The supervisor said Silva said he was not working as a lifeguard anywhere, and did not mention any summer job. He said Silva mentioned possibly visiting Brazil soon.

The supervisor said he left Silva in Harvard Square that day, saying, “Glad to see you’re staying out of trouble.”

let-goletgod:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office on July 22 indicted Stephen Silva on charges of distribution of heroin and unlawful possession of a Ruger model 95 9mm pistol with an obliterated serial number. Silva apparently is a friend of Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and lives in the same apartment complex as one of the UMass-Dartmouth students charged with making false statements to law enforcement after the attacks.


Although the Silva indictments are silent on any connection his case may have to Tsarnaev’s, many media outlets have reported that the 21-year-old is believed to have once been in possession of the pistol allegedly used to murder MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.


Some reports, quoting anonymous law enforcement sources, have stated that the government has evidence that Tsarnaev, and not his older brother, secured the weapon. Reports have also surfaced from unnamed sources that ballisticians were able to raise the obliterated serial number from the weapon and successfully trace it. Court filings in Silva’s case make no mention of such efforts.


Jonathan Shapiro, counsel to Silva, released the following statement on July 22: “I am representing Stephen Silva who is charged with a number of offenses, including the possession of a firearm in February of 2013. According to news reports, law enforcement officials say it is the same weapon that was used, some months later, in the MIT Officer Sean Collier shooting. However, this has not been charged in the indictment. I am in the process of meeting with my client and reviewing the available evidence, which will eventually be presented in a court of law in accordance with our system of justice. Out of respect for that system and for my client, I cannot make any further comment on the case.”


Starting with the release of a series of photos taken during the search for and apprehension of Tsarnaev, his defense lawyers have claimed that the already challenging task of ensuring a fair trial for their client gets exponentially more difficult with the leaks.


I would expect the subject of the Silva coverage to become an issue before U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. when the Tsarnaev case returns to court. A motion for change of venue is under consideration by O’Toole; one would imagine the defense will cite the recent wave of publicity as yet another reason to send the case out of town.


Judy Clarke, one of Tsarnaev’s lawyers, told the judge at a June 18 status conference that a court order was needed to address the leaks: “There’s got to be some sense of sanctions that people would face … if they violate the court’s order. There’s been a high level of rhetoric, which the prosecution team has not been able to stop, and I think the court weighing in would be the next necessary step.”


O’Toole told the parties that he had seen some of the previous coverage of the case, “and I was not very happy about it.” But he said at the time that he didn’t think a formal order would accomplish much.
“If something happens that is similar, with or without a formal order, I can take appropriate action,” O’Toole said.
According to a transcript of the hearing, the judge said that while he was not inclined to sanction the government for any of the leaks, he wanted them stopped immediately. The local rules, which speak to the need to keep extraneous information out of the public arena, must be followed, O’Toole said. “I do think that the prosecution has practical, if not legal control over [the investigators], and I expect that the government will remind people involved in the case … of their responsibility to the integrity of the trial.”


O’Toole can’t be too thrilled about the Silva news, but whether that prompts him to take action remains to be seen.


Finally, Silva’s case has been assigned to Judge Mark L. Wolf. He has little tolerance for leaks and could have quite a bit to say on the issue if/when the defense raises it.
Silva returns to court on Aug. 6.


– David E. Frank

http://masslawyersweekly.com/2014/07/23/looking-into-leaks-in-tsarnaev/

‘I Smoke Weed Every Day Because My Best Friend Was the Bomber’ - ABC News

let-goletgod:

BOSTON — The accused heroin dealer who officials say provided a handgun to the alleged Boston Marathon bombers told police last year that he did drugs himself to cope with his close link to the deadly twin explosions, a police report and law enforcement sources said.

Boston Magazine
“I smoke a lot of weed every day because my best friend was the bomber,” Stephen Silva said, based on a police report written after he was busted in November 2013 for allegedly dealing marijuana. Law enforcement officials told ABC News that by “best friend,” Silva was referring to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a former classmate of Silva’s and the man charged with setting off the Boston Marathon bombs in April 2013 with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Silva, 21, had been out on bail awaiting a court date scheduled for next week in relation to the state’s marijuana charges when he was taken into federal custody Monday and accused of dealing heroin in June 2014.

In addition to the new heroin charges, court documents also accuse Silva of at one point possessing a handgun, a “Ruger model P95 9mm pistol,” in early 2013 that law enforcement sources told ABC News is the same one later used by the Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a shootout with police three days after the Boston Marathon bombing. Authorities believe the gun was also used to murder MIT police officer Sean Collier hours before the shootout with police.

Official: Gun Shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Played Greater Role in Bombing and Aftermath

Before Boston Bombing, Alleged Attacker Posed With Black Flag of Jihad

TIMELINE: Boston Marathon Bombing

Though the Tsarnaevs are not mentioned in court documents regarding Silva’s gun possession charges, law enforcement officials told ABC News they believe Silva gave Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the weapon and that Dzhokhar and Silva were close.

Tuesday Silva told the federal magistrate judge that he graduated from Cambridge Rindge & Latin, the same high school where the younger Tsarnaev graduated, with honors. Silva said he graduated in 2011, the same year as Tsarnaev.

In a run-in with authorities on the Fourth of July in 2012, cops reported a Steven Silva — rather than Stephen — and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were discovered together drinking alcohol in a Honda registered to Dzhokhar. Stephen Silva has an identical twin brother named Steven, sources said, but police believe that it was really Stephen in the car with the younger Tsarnaev. The November 2013 police report also had the offender listed as Steven, but fingerprints taken after his arrest identified him as Stephen Silva, the same man arraigned in federal court Tuesday, law enforcement sources said.

Stephen Silva said in court Tuesday he lives with his mother and stepfather, and added that his brother “moved away” and works as a car salesman. State and federal sources said Steven and Dzhokhar knew each other but were not friends.

Stephen Silva did not enter a plea during his initial appearance Tuesday, and is being held until his bail hearing in August. His trial on the Nov. 2013 marijuana arrest will be postponed, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

Late Tuesday Silva’s attorney Jonathan Shapiro issued a statement that notes there is no mention of Tsarnaev in his client’s most recent indictment.

“I am in the process of meeting with my client and reviewing the available evidence, which will eventually be presented in a court of law in accordance with our system of justice,” Shapiro said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the shootout with police on April 18, 2013. Dzhokhar was injured but survived and was later captured. He has pleaded not guilty to some 30 charges related to the bombing and, if convicted, could face the death penalty.

Tsarnaev lawyers get more time to make case for D.C trial | Boston Herald

let-goletgod:

Attorneys defending the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, who turned 21 yesterday in solitary confinement, told U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole they have an expert examining polling results that suggest potential jurors in Massachusetts, based largely on pretrial publicity, are predisposed to convict the former Cambridge resident for the April 15, 2013, terrorist attack in Copley Square that killed three marathon spectators and injured 260 others.

“The defense position is that the court will find a pretrial decision to move the trial to a venue outside of the state of Massachusetts to be warranted once the defense is able to complete and present an expert analysis of the survey data and pretrial publicity,” the motion, granted last night, reads.

Tsarnaev’s trial is slated to start Nov. 3, and he faces charges that carry a possible sentence of execution. His lawyers have until Aug. 7 to make the case to move his trial.

Indictment for Stephen Silva

meenamaekay:

United States vs Stephen Silva

http://c.o0bg.com/rw/Boston/2011-2020/2014/07/22/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Graphics/silva1.pdf

Stephen Silva Indictment

ladyjeanne:

Document 1 Filed 07/15/14

Official: Gun Shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Played Greater Role in Bombing and Aftermath

freedomdragon:

The handgun used by one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers in a violent firefight with police and to allegedly murder an MIT police officer was given to the Tsarnaev brothers by a local alleged heroin dealer who was taken into custody late Monday, several law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Stephen Silva, a Cambridge Rindge and Latin classmate of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appeared in federal court today on drug and gun possession charges. In addition to charges related to alleged heroin dealing, the Eritrea native “knowingly received and possessed a firearm…a Ruger model P95 9 mm pistol, which had the importer’s and manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, and altered,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News. Silva is alleged to have had the gun in February 2013, just months before the marathon blasts.

Law enforcement sources said that gun was the same as the Ruger P95 described in other court documents as used by Tamerlan Tsarneav, Dzhokhar’s older brother, in a gun battle with police three days after the marathon bombing in April 2013. Tamerlan emptied the gun when firing at police and then threw the empty weapon at the officers before he was killed, the documents say. Dzhokhar was injured, but survived the firefight and would be apprehended hours later. He has pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges related to the marathon bombing.

Hours before the police engaged the brothers, the same gun was also allegedly used in the murder of MIT security officer Sean Collier.

Defense attorneys for Dzhokhar have filed papers and have said in open court that Tamerlan was the architect of the marathon attacks that left three dead, 260 wounded, and that Dzhokhar came under the “stronger influence of his older brother.”

However, a high-ranking law enforcement official said that while Tamerlan may have used the Ruger last, it was Dzhokhar who was friends with Silva and in the end, “it was Dzhokhar’s gun.”

“The defense is trying to paint Tamerlan as the mastermind [of the Boston attacks], but they were working in concert and we have evidence that Dzhokhar secured the weapon,” the official said.

Though the serial number was damaged, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was able to use what was left to track it to a gun to a store in Maine where it had been purchased legally, law enforcement sources said. The original buyer told investigators he gave it to a Portland, Maine drug dealing gang. The alleged leader of that gang has been identified in federal court records as Biniam “Icy” Tsegai, also from Eritrea. Tsegai and others were indicted by federal prosecutors in Maine last year and in recent weeks several of those charged with drug-related crimes have pleaded guilty or been sentenced, according to FBI releases and court records.

It is unclear what connection “Icy” or his associates may have had with Silva or the Tsarnaevs. But Silva was described by investigators as a longtime friend of the younger Tsarnaev – who today turned 21 in jail where he is awaiting trial. Silva told U.S. Magistrate Court Justice Marianne Bowler today that he attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin, the same school as Dzohokhar, and graduated in the same year, 2011.

Silva’s attorney, Jonathon Shapiro, did not respond to requests for comment. Silva will return to federal court next month for a bail hearing.

The FBI has doggedly built cases against four other Tsarnaev friends.

Another Cambridge Rindge and Latin classmate, Robel Phillipos, will go on trial this fall for lying to federal agents.

Yesterday Azmat Tazhayakov, who was with Tsarnaev every day after the bombings, according to court testimony in his trial, was found guilty of obstruction charges and faces twenty years in prison. The FBI dug through a dump for ten days to recover a backpack with spent fireworks Tazhayakov his roommate is accused of disposing of the night of Collier’s murder. That man, Dias Kadrybayev, was also charged with obstruction and is slated for trial this fall. He has pleaded not guilty.


So many ifs here, but this is so not good for Dzhokhar if it’s true…

BREAKING: New arrest linked to gun used after Boston Marathon attacks

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is believed to have provided the handgun used to kill a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during the manhunt, people with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday.

Stephen Silva made an initial appearance in federal court on charges related to heroin trafficking and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number. An attorney for Silva, Jonathan Shapiro, said Tuesday evening that he had received the case only a few hours earlier and was not in a position to comment.

The 9 mm Ruger pistol described in the indictment is the same handgun that was used to kill MIT police officer Sean Collier during the manhunt for the bombing suspects, according to the two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. The grand jury indictment, which was filed July 15, does not mention Collier’s slaying or any connection to Tsarnaev.

The origin of the gun was among the lingering mysteries of the investigation into the April 2013 attack, in which three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when twin bombs exploded near the finish line. Collier, a 26-year-old MITcampus police officer, was ambushed a few days later and shot multiple times in his car.

According to the indictment, Silva knowingly had possession of the gun, “which had the importer’s and manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, and altered and had previously been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.”

The indictment also alleges that Silva conspired to distribute heroin this summer in the Boston area.

A friend and neighbor of Silva’s told CBS Boston he witnessed the man’s arrest in Cambridge Monday night.

"They rolled up packed," the man said. "There was like 15, 16 cars everywhere in the courtyard. I was in a meeting, I was on my way home and then someone screamed, ‘The feds are downstairs!’ I ran, I looked I saw them carrying big cases."

Silva is a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He said in court Tuesday that he graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 2011, the same year as Tsarnaev. Silva was ordered to remain in custody ahead of a bail hearing scheduled for Aug. 6.

Dzhokhar’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped but was soon found, wounded and hiding in a boat dry-docked in a backyard in suburban Watertown.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in November. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

Four other men have been charged with crimes related to the bombing investigation.

On Monday, a federal jury found Azamat Tazhayakov guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for trying to protect Tsarnaev by agreeing with another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, to get rid of a backpack and disable fireworks they took from his dorm room. Kadyrbayev is to be tried next month on the same charges. Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev are both natives of Kazakhstan.

Robel Phillipos, who is charged with lying to investigators about being in the dorm room with Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov the night the items were taken, is to have a separate trial in September.

And a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Khairulluzon Matanov, is to be tried next year on charges that he lied to investigators about the extent of his friendship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the contact he had with both brothers in the days following the bombings.

let-goletgod:

Accused bomber’s friend Stephen Silva, 21, was focus of undercover investigation, court docs say.

credit