Enrique Marquez, the California man who purchased the guns for the San Bernardino terrorists was charged on Thursday with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Marquez also told investigators that he and Farook plotted earlier mass casualty attacks. U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said the two men conspired to commit “vicious” assaults on targets including a California community college and a state highway during rush hour. Decker said there was no evidence that Marqu ez took part in Dec. 2 attack or had prior knowledge of it. He was arrested on Thursday, authorities said, and was expected to make an initial appearance in federal court later on Thursday.
According to an affidavit filed by prosecutors, the two men met in 2005 when Marquez became Farook’s neighbor in Riverside, California. Farook introduced Marquez to radical Islamist ideology, prosecutors said, and by 2011 Marquez was spending most of his time at Farook’s home listening to lectures and watching videos with extremist content. He and Farook also planned to attack State Route 91 with pipe bombs during afternoon rush hour, and then to shoot at law enforcement and emergency crews as they arrived on the scene, according to the affidavit. Prosecutors said the pair bought guns, ammunition and tactical gear, and Marquez told investigators he agreed to purchase the weapons because “his appearance was Caucasian, while Farook looked Middle-Eastern.”
The documents provide the clearest look yet not only of Marquez but also of Farook, who died in a shootout with police after the massacre. Farook was interested in violent extremism at least two years before he and his future wife, Tashfeen Malik, corresponded online about waging violent jihad, according to Marquez’s account to the government. Marquez, who had not been seen since becoming the focus of the investigation, appeared in court wearing a beige T-shirt, handcuffed and with a chain around his waist. He seemed relaxed, leaning back in his chair, and said he understood the charges against him. He answered “Yes” when asked whether he had read the complaint and understood it.
The most serious charges pertain to the earlier plots from 2012 rather than the San Bernardino shooting. But Marquez was also charged with making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms used in that attack.
While there currently is no evidence that Mr. Marquez participated in the Dec. 2, 2015, attack or had advance knowledge of it, his prior purchase of the firearms and ongoing failure to warn authorities about Farook’s intent to commit mass murder had fatal consequences,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California said in a statement.
Law enforcement officials searched Marquez’s home three days after the shooting. The day after the shooting, Marquez went to the UCLA Harbor Medical Center emergency room and told workers there that he drank nine beers before arriving. He was referred to the psychiatric ward and placed on an involuntary hold there. Marquez’s family has remained silent on the recent developments but his mother spoke to reporters last week while becoming distraught as she described her son as a good person.