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Friend of California Shooter Charged with Aiding Terrorism

  • Ken Bredemeier

The battered garage door of Enrique Marquez is seen after a recent FBI raid, in Riverside, California, Dec. 9, 2015.

The battered garage door of Enrique Marquez is seen after a recent FBI raid, in Riverside, California, Dec. 9, 2015.

The friend and neighbor who bought the guns for the couple who massacred 14 people in California two weeks ago was charged Thursday with supporting terrorists, lying about the gun purchase and immigration fraud.

The FBI arrested Enrique Marquez on Thursday. He faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

"While there is currently no evidence that Mr. Marquez participated in the December 2, 2015, attack or had advanced knowledge of it, his prior purchase of firearms and ongoing failure to warn authorities about [gunman] Farook's intent to commit mass murder had fatal consequences," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said Thursday.

Marquez legally bought the weapons Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani-born wife, Tashfeen Malik, used in the California massacre.

Police crime photos are displayed during a Dec. 4 press conference in San Bernardino, Calif.

Police crime photos are displayed during a Dec. 4 press conference in San Bernardino, Calif.

Multiple plans for attacks

Investigators determined that he originally purchased the guns to use in a terrorist plot he and Farook allegedly drew up in 2012 to throw pipe bombs in a college cafeteria or library and shoot the students as they tried to escape.

The two also planned to drop bombs onto a California highway; Farook would walk from car to car through the stopped traffic, shooting people while Marquez shot at drivers and police from a hillside, investigators say.

They reportedly gave up the plot when agents arrested other California suspects who planned to go to Afghanistan to kill U.S. soldiers.

Marquez was also charged Thursday with lying about his intent for the weapons when he bought them, and entering into a sham marriage with a member of Farook's extended family with the sole purpose of helping the woman enter the United States. The Justice Department says she paid Marquez $200 a month for his part in the marriage fraud.

Marquez was a friend and neighbor of Farook in Riverside, California. The two would spend hours together taking apart and fixing old cars, and talking about Islam.

Marquez had converted to Islam, but apparently lost interest in the religion. He had been working as a doorman in a bar and checked himself in at a mental-health clinic just after the massacre.

This July 27, 2014 photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook, as they passed through O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

This July 27, 2014 photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook, as they passed through O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

California massacre

Farook and Malik murdered 14 and wounded 22 at a local government office in San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles. They also left behind a pipe bomb that failed to go off before they escaped in a car to nearby Riverside. They were killed in a gunbattle with police, leaving behind thousands of rounds of ammunition and a lot of bomb-making material in their house.

The couple were apparently followers of the Islamic State. FBI chief James Comey said the pair made a commitment two years ago to launch an attack even before they met in person and married.

But there is still no evidence they were part of a foreign terrorist group or an organized terrorist cell.

Malik underwent three background investigations before she was allowed into the United States on a fiancee visa, which required her to marry Farook within 90 days.

Attorneys for family members of Farook and Malik say authorities released their bodies earlier this week and they were buried Tuesday in southern California.

U.S. President Barack Obama is planning to hold private meetings Friday in San Bernardino with families who lost loved ones in the attack.

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