Friend of San Bernardino Shooter, Enrique Marquez Jr., Pleads Not Guilty to Terror Charges
Marquez, a friend of the alleged male shooter, is accused of providing two rifles used in the Dec. 2 killings
Enrique Marquez Jr., the man accused of purchasing two assault rifles used in the Dec. 2 massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino, California, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal terror charges, PEOPLE confirms.
Marquez faces a five-count federal indictment, which was obtained by PEOPLE.
He is charged with two counts of making a false statement in relation to the purchase of the rifles, and one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Marquez allegedly plotted with Syed Rizwan Farook, the suspected male San Bernardino shooter, in 2011 and 2012 to commit other crimes of terrorism, though these alleged plots never came to fruition.
Marquez, a 24-year-old resident of Riverside, California, is also accused of marriage fraud and lying on a visa application in relation to an alleged sham marriage with a member of the male shooter’s family.
The United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles described Marquez as a longtime friend of the male shooter. And while he is not suspected in connection with the San Bernardino shootings, which were allegedly carried out by Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik – who were killed by police following the shootings – Marquez’s alleged earlier plotting with Farook “provided the foundation for [those] murders,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement.
“This indictment demonstrates that we will hold accountable all individuals who collaborate with terrorists in executing their plans,” Decker said.
The charge of providing material support to terrorists carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison. Three of the other charges carry a maximum of 10 years, while the fourth – the marriage fraud count – carries a maximum of five years.
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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 is being held in federal custody without bond. A trial is scheduled for Feb. 23 before United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal.