Friend of San Bernardino gunman to plead guilty for other terror plots

Police search the home of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik -- the two suspects accused in the San Bernardino attack on December 3, 2015. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Feb. 15 (UPI) — A Southern California man who bought two guns that were used in the 2015 San Bernardino attack will plead guilty to multiple criminal charges, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

According to federal authorities, Enrique Marquez, Jr., has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and lying in the purchase of a firearm.

Officials said Marquez is expected to plead guilty on Thursday.

According to investigators, Marquez and San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook began gathering weapons and plotted multiple attacks around Southern California in 2011 and 2012. However, none of their plots — which targeted a community college and a local freeway — were carried out.

“With this plea, Enrique Marquez Jr. will be held accountable for his role in plotting terrorist attacks on American soil … attacks which were, fortunately, not carried out,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary B. McCord said in a statement. “Holding those who threaten our national security and public safety accountable will always be the highest priority of the National Security Division.”

Marquez, 25, was a close friend to Farook — who, with Pakistan-born wife Tashfeen Malik, carried out a mass shooting at San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2, 2015, that killed 14 people.

The charges against Marquez are for the other plots — not the shooting at the social center. However, two firearms that Marquez bought for the other plots were ultimately used in the San Bernardino attack.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said.

Farook, 28, and Malik, 29, drove to the social services center on the day of the attack and began firing indiscriminately, officials said. Both were killed in a subsequent shootout with police. Farook had been an employee at the building.

Investigators have said Farook and Marquez were inspired by radical Islam when they plotted the other attacks.

By pleading guilty to the charges, Marquez faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.


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