Criminal complaint illuminates San Bernardino gunman’s ties to Islamic militarism
A friendship turns to radical teachings and ends in tragedy.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In 2005, Enrique Marquez Jr. moved to Riverside, California. Enrique Marquez, the pal who bought guns for San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, was paid $200 month to enter into a sham marriage with one of the slain terrorist’s extended family members, court papers claim.The man who bought the assault rifles his friend used in the San Bernardino massacre was charged Thursday with a terrorism-related charge alleging he plotted earlier attacks at a college they attended and on a congested freeway. The duo, who had become adherents to radicalized Islam ideology as neighbors in Riverside, plotted in 2011 and 2012 to maximize carnage by using pipe bombs and guns to kill innocent people at a campus cafeteria and those stuck in rush hour traffic, court documents said. Records show Marquez married Chernykh at a ceremony at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco in California last year, although the mosque’s facility manager denied it occurred there.
Farook and his alleged would-be accomplice, Enrique Marquez, planned to attack Riverside Community College, where they both had been students, and “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 a criminal complaint against Marquez, 24. Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the Farook and Marquez planned other deadly attacks — including one in which they would bomb the cafeteria of their former college in California. “[Marquez’s] prior purchase of the firearms and ongoing failure to warn authorities about Farook’s intent to commit mass murder had fatal consequences,” US Attorney Eileen Decker said.
Marquez also was charged with illegally purchasing two assault rifles that Farook (28) and his wife Tashfeen Malik (29) used to kill 14 people at an office lunch of Farook’s health department colleagues on December 2nd. Marquez has been charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists based upon his plotting with Farook, which took place in 2001 and 2012. A lengthy affidavit outlines evidence against Marquez, including statements he gave investigators over 11 days after he waived his rights to remain silent and be represented by a lawyer. U.S. authorities laid out a grim tale of jihadi seduction, with Farook indoctrinating Marquez, whom he met in 2005, through jihadist lectures and other propaganda. “Farook later 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-Aulaqi,” the Justice Department said in a statement. By late that year, Farook was discussing Islam with the younger Marquez, and soon Marquez visited a mosque and was praying more frequently at Farook’s home.
Marquez told authorities he converted to Islam at the age of about 16 and four years later was spending most of his time at Farook’s home, reading, listening to and watching “radical Islamic content” that included al Qaida instructions on how to make bombs. He said they also planned to toss pipe bombs on a busy section of freeway that has no exits, bringing traffic to a halt and then picking off the occupants.
In August 2011, Farook informed Marquez of his interest in joining AQAP in Yemen.” The allegations tend to undercut the notion that it was Farook’s wife, Malik, who radicalized him and persuaded him to engage in violence. Marquez told investigators that around late 2011 he and Farook planned to bomb a crowded cafeteria or library at a local community college or mow down motorists with gunfire on a gridlocked Southern California freeway, with both plots intended to maximize casualties, according to the documents charging Marquez. Farook allegedly planned to then move among stopped vehicles, shooting into them, while Marquez shot into vehicles from a position on a nearby hillside.
The FBI has said Farook and Malik were radicalised before they met online in 2013, but the court documents detail how much earlier Farook had turned down that path and plotted violence. Around the same time, Marquez bought smokeless powder “in furtherance of his and Farook’s plans to create bombs and commit mass killings.” But Marquez was getting nervous about his relationship with his budding terrorist friend, and in late 2012, he began to back away from Farook.
In the freeway attack plan, the two identified a stretch of eastbound state Route 91 where traffic is badly congested in the afternoon and there are no nearby exits for motorists to flee. Marquez said he and Malik aborted their plans after authorities interrupted a terror plot in the area in November 2012 that involved four men who wanted to join al Qaida to fight US forces overseas.
A friend of Marquez, who asked not to be identified, had previously told The Daily Beast that Marquez’s attraction to Farook and radical Islam was “more of an intellectual curiosity” than a devotion. The purchases were unlawful, prosecutors allege, because Marquez signed legal documents saying the guns were for only the personal use of himself and his immediate family. The pair decided Marquez should buy the guns because his appearance was less likely to draw suspicion than Farook, whose parents were born in Pakistan, Marquez said. The legal pairing created a family tie between Marquez and Farook — Marquez became a brother-in-law to Farook’s brother, Syed Raheel Farook, and gave Marquez and his friend a common sister-in-law. He tells the operator he’d given a gun to suspect Farook for “storage.” The call indicates the apparently distraught Marquez was also considering suicide.
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