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‘Sleeper Cells’ Talk from San Bernardino Terrorist’s Friend Was Ignored

Enrique Marquez, a prime suspect and alleged accomplice in last week’s radical Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, spoke about terrorism at Morgan’s Tavern, a local dive bar where he worked, but not one of the patrons who heard him took his words seriously.

“He would say stuff like: ‘There’s so much going on. There’s so many sleeper cells, so many people just waiting. When it happens, it’s going to be big. Watch,'” a frequent patron, Nick Rodriguez, who was familiar with Marquez, told The New York Times. “We took it as a joke. When you look at the kid and talk to him, no one would take him seriously about that,” Rodriguez said.

Marquez, 24, who had converted to Islam over the course of his friendship with radical Islamic terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, was reportedly thinking about leaving the religion and becoming a Buddhist. Patrons at the bar who interviewed with the Times noted that after a few drinks, Marquez would start talking about his money woes, trying to lose weight, wanting to join the Navy, and terrorism, which they believed was just bar talk.

He now faces federal indictment after it was discovered that he had purchased the set of AR-15s that were used by Farook and accomplice wife Tashfeen Malik on December 2, which left 14 people dead and 22 injured. Marquez bought the guns for Farook, his childhood friend, after Farook expressed his fear that he would not pass the required background check.

Funerals for the individuals who lost their lives during last week’s holiday party began on Thursday and will take place throughout next week.

According to the Times, Marquez has cooperated with federal authorities in their investigation by waiving his right to remain silent, and they believe this may very well have “held the keys” to understanding what motivated Farook and the Pakistani-born Malik to act as they did. It is believed Marquez might also be able to help authorities discover who the radicalized Islamic couple was in contact with, both at home and abroad, as speculation and signals point to a money trail and potential ideological influences from terrorist organizations.

A new piece of information from a U.S. government source provided to Reuters reveals that Malik had “tried in vain to contact multiple Islamic militant groups in the months before she and Farook staged their attack, but her overtures were ignored” because the terrorists were concerned she might be a government informant. Malik’s Pakistani family also has ties to Islamist militants.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

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