There’s been a guilty plea in the San Bernardino terror attack case from the only man who will be criminally charged for the killings.
The Associated Press reports, “Enrique Marquez Jr., 25, of Riverside, admitted in a plea agreement released Tuesday that he bought the assault rifles used by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, in the Dec. 2, 2015, attack at a public health agency. Farook and Malik were later killed in a gunfight with authorities.”
Marquez also pled guilty to making false statements when purchasing the AR-15 rifles and for plotting a separate mass killing he and Farook never carried out. Prosecutors said Marquez bought the guns for his neighbors after they expressed concern that their Middle Eastern appearance would arouse suspicion from the sporting goods store. Even then, prosecutors had no evidence to tie him to the terror attack or to show he had advanced knowledge of the plans.
But here’s where the story gets even more interesting:
Marquez also admitted to plotting with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to massacre college students and gun down motorists on a gridlocked California freeway, though those attacks never occurred.
Federal officials said the duo had envisioned halting traffic on state Route 91 with explosives and then firing at trapped motorists, or tossing pipe bombs into a crowded cafeteria at Riverside City College.
Marquez said he backed out of the plot after four men in the area about 60 miles inland from Los Angeles were arrested on terrorism charges in late 2012, the FBI has said in court documents.
Marquez met Farook when they were teens, and became very close friends. The AP reveals even more sinister ties between the two:
Marquez and Farook first met in 2005 after Marquez moved next door to Farook's family in Riverside, about 55 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, officials said. The then-teens would meet in Farook's garage and Farook, a Muslim, began educating his new friend about his religion. Marquez converted and became a Muslim in 2007.
The FBI said the two began discussing extremist views shortly after Marquez converted. By late 2011, Marquez spent most of his time at Farook's home, where he read Inspire magazine, an official publication of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula; watched videos produced by al-Qaida's affiliate in Somalia; and studied radical material online, federal officials said.
John Hinderaker at PowerLine blog had this reaction:
Rizwan Farook was an American citizen, born in Chicago. His wife, Tashfeen Malik, was an immigrant from Pakistan. I haven’t seen any information on Marquez’s citizenship, but he moved to Riverside in 2005 and subsequently committed immigration fraud by entering into a sham marriage with a member of Farook’s family. There is a lot of “diversity” here, but also a common denominator: Islam.
Marquez faces up to 25 years in prison.