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Man Linked to California Terror Attack Pleads Not Guilty

  • VOA News

FILE - In this courtroom sketch, Enrique Marquez appears in federal court in Riverside, Calif., Monday, Dec. 21, 2015.

FILE - In this courtroom sketch, Enrique Marquez appears in federal court in Riverside, Calif., Monday, Dec. 21, 2015.

The man accused of supplying guns to the shooters in the California terror attack pleaded not guilty Wednesday to conspiracy and other charges.

Enrique Marquez Jr. is the first person arrested over the deadliest terror attack in the U.S. since 9/11. He faces two charges of firearms violations for being the so-called straw buyer in the purchase of two assault rifles used in the December 2 attack in San Bernardino. Marquez is also accused of conspiring with shooter Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012 to provide material support to terrorists.

Two other charges — fraud and making false statements on immigration documents — are related to an alleged sham marriage. His trial is set for February 23.

According to the FBI, Marquez and Farook were friends who grew up next door to each other in Riverside. Farook introduced Marquez to Islam as a teenager a decade ago and indoctrinated him in violent extremism.

Marquez is not charged with direct involvement in the attack last month that left 14 people dead and more than 20 wounded, but officials say his purchase of the guns and his failure to warn authorities about Farook had deadly consequences.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, died in a shootout with police a few hours after they opened fire inside a holiday party attended by Farook's co-workers.

According to the criminal complaint, Marquez phoned the authorities hours after the San Bernardino shooting and told the dispatcher that the attackers "used my gun."

Marquez told investigators that he and Farook had planned to launch attacks at Riverside City College, where they attended classes, and on a notoriously congested section of highway without exits.

Several pipe bombs were used in the San Bernardino attack. However, none of them exploded.

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