A grand jury on Wednesday indicted a 24-year-old friend of the San Bernardino gunman for allegedly conspiring to plan two previous terrorist attacks, as well as four other federal charges.
Enrique Marquez, who was once the neighbor of Syed Rizwan Farook, was arrested Dec. 17 on suspicion of providing two assault rifles to Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik. The couple went on to kill 14 people at a Riverside County holiday party after allegedly pledging their allegiance to ISIS.
In the days after the attack, authorities said Marquez was cooperating with them. He was later arrested and held without bail after prosecutors said he was a flight risk and potential danger to the community.
Marquez is charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, as well as two counts of making a false statement about the purchase of the rifles. He is also charged with marriage fraud and making a false statement on immigration paperwork.
According to prosecutors, Marquez and Farook plotted in 2011 and 2012 to bomb and shoot up Riverside Community College and a section of the busy 91 Freeway.
"This indictment demonstrates that we will hold accountable all individuals who collaborate with terrorists in executing their plans,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. "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."
Marquez is also accused of entering into a sham marriage with the sister of Farook's sister-in-law, accepting $200 a month to say they were married and help her immigration status, when she was actually living with another man.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 6.
If convicted, Marquez faces up to 15 years in prison in connection with the terrorism charge, as well as 10 years for each of the false statements and five years for marriage fraud.
"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," FBI Los Angeles Assistant Director David Bowdich said in a statement. "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."
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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