As Dzhokhar Tsarnaev awaits trial for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people, his older sister has found herself in trouble with the law. New York City police arrested Ailina Tsarnaeva for allegedly making a bomb threat directed at a woman who once had a relationship with her current boyfriend. Ailina, who lives in northern New Jersey, was charged with aggravated harassment. She's expected to appear in criminal court in late September.
The older Tsarnaeva reportedly made the bomb threat over the phone on Monday to an unidentified woman. New York Police Department Lt. John Grimpel told CNN that the woman, who has children with Ailina's boyfriend, promptly notified police about the threat.
According to The Boston Herald, Ailina reportedly told the woman, "I have people that can go over there and put a bomb on you." She ended up turning herself in, and has already been released from police custody.
Ailina has been in trouble with the law before, though it wasn't as dangerous as bomb threats. In October, Ailina turned herself in to Boston police over a three-year-long counterfeit money scandal. The former Massachusetts resident was charged with misleading police in 2010 after investigators traced counterfeit money used by a group of diners at a Boston Applebee's to Ailina and her car. She told police at the time that she picked up friends in her car that day, but didn't know their names.
After pleading not guilty, Ailina skipped out on her court hearing in early 2011, and a warrant was out for her arrest until last October.
The criminal background of the family — ethnic Chechens who lived in Russia — has been under public scrutiny since 21-year-old Dzhokhar was named as the leading suspect in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The attacks killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured more than 250 others. Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan, were accused of carrying out the bombings, using homemade pressure cooker bombs. The pair also allegedly killed an MIT police officer as they tried to flee Boston several days later.
Dzhokhar was charged with the deaths of the three bombing victims and the campus police officer, as well as using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. Although Massachusetts doesn't have the death penalty, Dzhokhar is being tried in federal court, and Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that federal prosecutors are going after the death penalty.
As the parents of the siblings were in Russia at the time of the bombings, Ailina was one of the family members repeatedly quoted on TV and in print in the wake of the attacks. When her brothers were named as the suspects, Ailina told reporters that she didn't know "what had gotten into" her older brother.
"I thought I knew Tamerlan. I never would have expected that from him," she told reporters at the time. "He is a kind and loving man."
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