SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The longtime friend of the Muslim jihadist that killed 14 earlier this month in an attack on a holiday party in San Bernardino was indicted on Wednesday by a federal grand jury on terrorism and other charges.
Enrique Marquez Jr., 24, was arrested earlier this month following the Dec. 2 attack after he contacted officials to state that assailant Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik had used his weapons to carry out the deadly attack on the gathering at the Inland Resource Center.
He soon also outlined that he and Farook, who had been friends since 2005, had planned to attack the Riverside City College and the 91 freeway in 2011 and 2012, but abandoned their schemes out of fear. The weapons used by Farook and Malik had been purchased by Marquez both of those years, and an explosive powder found by investigators is also believed to have been provided by Marquez.
“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,” said U.S. attorney Eileen Decker in a statement.
“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,” David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, also said in a press release.
Marquez is additionally facing the non-terror related charge of defrauding immigration authorities as he is accused of lying about his 2014 marriage to Mariya Chernykh, whose sister is married to Farook’s brother. According to reports, Marquez is stated to have entered on immigration papers that the two co-habitate in California when she actually lives in Canada.
He is faces five charges in all: one charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; two counts of making a false statement on weapons purchase forms; and one count each of marriage fraud and making false statements surrounding what is being called a “sham marriage.”
Marquez is being held without bail and will appear in court on Jan. 6. He faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted.
“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,” Bowdich said.
However, officials also note that it is unknown as to whether Marquez had foreknowledge about Farook’s plot to attack the Inland Regional Center this month.