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California Man Agrees to Plead Guilty to Plotting Violent Attacks and Buying Firearms for Shooter in San Bernardino Terrorist Attack
Enrique Marquez Jr., 25, of Riverside, California - longtime friend of Syed Rizwan Farook, the male shooter in the San Bernardino, California terrorist attack - agreed to plead guilty to conspiring with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to provide material support to terrorists.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker for the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge Deirdre Fike of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. Marquez entered into a plea agreement that was filed today in U.S. District Court. The defendant is scheduled to enter his guilty pleas this Thursday at 12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00 a.m. PST before U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal.
"With this plea, Enrique Marquez Jr. will be held accountable for his role in plotting terrorist attacks on American soil with Sayed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012, attacks which were, fortunately, not carried out," said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. "Marquez also admitted to making a false statement as part of his straw purchases of weapons for Farook - weapons that were eventually used to carry out the deadly terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Holding those who threaten our national security and public safety accountable will always be the highest priority of the National Security Division and I want to thank all of the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this result."
"This defendant collaborated with and purchased weapons for a man who carried out the devastating December 2, 2015 terrorist attack that took the lives of 14 innocent people, wounded nearly two dozen, and impacted our entire nation," said U.S. Attorney Decker. "While his earlier plans to attack a school and a freeway were not executed, the planning clearly laid the foundation for the 2015 attack on the Inland Regional Center. When this defendant pleads guilty, all four individuals charged, including three of the shooters' family members, will be convicted. Everyone in the U.S. Attorney's Office - and everyone across the Department of Justice and the broader law enforcement community - brought their expertise, dedication, and tireless effort to bear on this investigation. We are, and will continue to be, deeply committed to pursuing the prosecution of everyone who was even remotely related to the San Bernardino attack. As these criminal cases begin to resolve, we hope that the victims of the attack and the community of San Bernardino are comforted in some small way by the knowledge that the Department of Justice and the law enforcement community stands with them in this investigation, resolute and committed to justice."
"Defendant Marquez purchased two of the weapons used in the San Bernardino terror attack to murder 14 innocent people and seriously injure 22 others - a horrific act which led to great suffering and a lifetime of pain for the survivors and for the loved ones of those murdered," said Assistant Director in Charge Fike. "Defendant Marquez provided these weapons to his associate, Syed Rizwan Farook, with whom he conspired to plot chilling terror attacks. I'm gratified that this guilty plea will spare the victims and the San Bernardino community from having to relive the gruesome details of the attack during what would likely be a lengthy trial."
According to the plea agreement, Marquez agreed to plead guilty to providing material support and resources to terrorists, including weapons, explosives and personnel. Marquez admitted in the plea agreement that he conspired with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to attack Riverside City College (RCC) and commuter traffic on the 91 Freeway. Marquez also agreed to plead guilty to making false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm for being the "straw buyer" of two assault rifles that were used in the shooting rampage at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center (IRC) on Dec. 2, 2015.
Marquez was arrested about two weeks after the attack at the IRC, which was perpetrated by Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who were killed in a shootout with law enforcement hours after the attack. The investigation into the deadly shooting quickly uncovered evidence that, in 2011 and 2012, Marquez purchased two rifles that Farook and Malik later used in the attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at the IRC. A law enforcement officer was also wounded during the shootout that afternoon.
According to the plea agreement, Farook paid Marquez for the rifles. Marquez also discussed with Farook the use of radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the planned attacks on the RCC and State Route 91. Marquez purchased Christmas tree lightbulbs and a container of smokeless powder for use in manufacturing IEDs.
Once he pleads guilty, Marquez will face a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison. Marquez, who did not personally participate in the attack on the IRC, has remained in custody since he was ordered detained at his initial court appearance in this case on Dec. 17, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Today's plea agreement is the result of an investigation by members of the Inland Empire FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force in California, including agents and detectives from the FBI; the San Bernardino Police Department; the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office; the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department; the Chino Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations; the Riverside County Sheriff's Department; the Riverside Police Department; the Ontario Police Department; the Redlands Police Department; and the Corona Police Department.
Also, as a result of the investigation into the IRC attack, three people have pleaded guilty to being part of a sham marriage scheme in which a Russian woman "married" Marquez to obtain immigration benefits. Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of IRC attacker Syed Rizwan Farook; Tatiana Farook, Syed Raheel Farook's wife; and Mariya Chernykh, Tatiana Farook's sister, pleaded guilty earlier this year to immigration fraud charges and admitted to being part of a conspiracy in which Chernykh paid Marquez to enter into a bogus marriage.
The two criminal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay H. Robinson, Melanie Sartoris and Deirdre Z. Eliot of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section. Trial Attorney C. Alexandria Bogle of the National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section provided substantial assistance.
[Source: DOJ, Office of Public Affairs, National Security Division (NSD), USAO - California, Central, 14Feb17]
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