Enrique Marquez Indicted as ‘Straw Purchaser’ of Guns Used in San Bernardino Terror

AP Photo/Bill Robles

Muslim convert Enrique Marquez was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on five counts–including conspiracy to provide support to terrorists and false statements made regarding two guns, which he stands accused of providing as a “straw purchaser,” used in the December 2 San Bernardino terror attacks.

Marquez, 24, reportedly told law enforcement that he conspired with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012 to carry out terror attacks. Marquez converted to Islam in the course of his friendship with Farook, according to reports.

Charges against Marquez detailed conversations the two had where they allegedly dreamed up ways to carry out an attack that would result in “maximum casualties,” including bombing a school cafeteria; another alleged plan involved bombing the freeway, then shooting drivers and first responders. Ultimately, the two reportedly got scared when a group of men — at least one of which was associated with Farook — were caught for attempting to join al Qaeda. As a result, the two did not carry out their alleged plans. But on December 2, 2015, Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik–who entered the United States on a K-1 Fiancée visa–killed 14 and wounded 22 in an Islamic terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

The indictment charges Marquez with “conspiring with Farook to provide material support and resources – including weapons, explosives and personnel – to terrorists, knowing and intending that such support was to be used in preparation for and in carrying out the use of fire or explosive to maliciously damage or destroy any institution or organization receiving federal financial assistance and property used in interstate or foreign commerce or in any activity affecting interstate or foreign commerce,” according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California.

“Defendant Marquez’s extensive plotting with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012, and his purchase of explosive powder and two firearms, provided the foundation for the murders that occurred this month,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in response to the indictment.

David Bowdich, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said:

Mr. Marquez is charged for his role in a conspiracy several years ago to target innocent civilians in our own backyard with cold-blooded terror attacks, and with providing weapons to an individual whose endgame was murder. The covert nature of the defendant’s alleged actions is a stark reminder of the challenges we face in preventing attacks planned in the name of violent jihad, and underscores the critical need for those with knowledge about terror plots to come forward.

Marquez was additionally charged with marriage fraud for entering into an alleged sham marriage with a member of San Bernardino attacker Farook’s family and allegedly lying on immigration paperwork regarding that marriage.

Marquez is currently in the custody of federal officials and will face arraignment on January 6, 2016.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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