RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A Riverside man accused of purchasing the two semi-automatic rifles used in the mass shooting in San Bernardino was charged Thursday on federal terrorism and other felony charges.
Enrique Marquez, 24, a former neighbor of Syed Farook, who carried out the Dec. 2 shooting with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, at the Inland Regional Center, was arrested Thursday by the FBI in connection with the massacre.
He made his initial court appearance in federal court in Riverside this afternoon.
Marquez was charged in a three-count criminal complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with conspiring to provide material support – including personnel, firearms and explosives – to terrorists in 2011 and 2012; with making a false statement in connection with acquisition of firearms; and immigration fraud, according to federal prosecutors.
While prosecutors say there was no evidence Marquez participated in the attack at the Inland Regional Center 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 Decker said.
CBS2’s Randy Paige reports, when Marquez — who was under heavy guard — was asked if he read the affidavit which outlined the charges against him, he said, “Yes.”
According to the affidavit, Marquez moved to Riverside and met next-door neighbor Farook in approximately 2005. After their initial meeting, Farook introduced Marquez to Islam, and, in 2007, Marquez converted to Islam, prosecutors said.
Over the next few years, Farook introduced Marquez to radical Islamic ideology, which included expressing disdain towards Muslims in the U.S. military who killed other Muslims, as well as discussing the “extremist views” of the now-deceased imam and Islamic lecturer Anwar al-Aulaqim, according to prosecutors.
By 2011, Marquez was introduced to “radical Islamic materials” and spent most of his time at Farook’s residence listening to lectures and watching videos involving radical Islamic content, according to the complaint.
In late 2011, according to the affidavit, Marquez and Farook started planning to use firearms and explosives to carry out terrorist acts – attacks that Marquez told investigators were designed to maximize the number of casualties that could be inflicted.
The affidavit recounts a recent interview with Marquez in which he is said to have admitted making plans with Farook to attack the library or cafeteria at Riverside Community College (RCC), where both men had been students.
The plan allegedly was to throw pipe bombs into the cafeteria area from an elevated position on the second floor, and then to shoot people as they fled, according to prosecutors.
Marquez and Farook also allegedly planned to attack eastbound lanes of the 91 Freeway during afternoon rush hour, according to the affidavit. Marquez told investigators that they chose a particular section of the freeway because there were no exits, which would increase the number of targets in the eastbound lanes.
The plan, prosecutors say, was for Farook to throw pipe bombs on to the freeway, which they believed would disable vehicles and stop traffic. Farook allegedly planned to then move among stopped vehicles, shooting into them, while Marquez shot into vehicles from a position on a nearby hillside.
Marquez allegedly said that he would watch for law enforcement and emergency vehicles, and his priority was to shoot law enforcement before shooting life-saving personnel.
Prosecutors say the two moved forward with their plants by purchasing firearms, ammunition and other tactical gear, as well as going to local firing ranges.
In late 2011 and 2012, Marquez allegedly purchased two firearms and portrayed himself as the actual purchaser of the rifles, when he was in fact buying the weapons for Farook as part of the plan to attack RCC and SR-91, according to the affidavit.
In fact, prosecutors say Marquez told investigators that he agreed to purchase the weapons because “his appearance was Caucasian, while Farook looked Middle Eastern.”
According to the affidavit, around the same time as he purchased the firearms for Farook, Marquez purchased explosives – specifically smokeless powder – “in furtherance of his and Farook’s plans to create bombs and commit mass killings.”
Marquez and Farook allegedly continued to prepare for terrorist attacks through the first half of 2012 by visiting firing ranges to practice shooting guns and “further discussing extremist ideologies,” prosecutors said.
It wasn’t until after 2012 that Marquez allegedly distanced himself from Farook and ceased plotting with Farook “for a variety of reasons, including the arrest of Ralph Deleon and others on material support for terrorism charges in November 2012,” according to the affidavit.
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