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Man who bought guns used in 2015 San Bernardino massacre gets 20 years

Court drawing of Enrique Marquez Jr. in federal court in 2015
Enrique Marquez Jr. appears in federal court in Riverside on terrorism and immigration fraud charges in 2015.
(Bill Robles / Associated Press)

The man who bought two rifles that a husband and wife used to kill more than a dozen people in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2015 has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Enrique Marquez Jr. was sentenced Friday for supplying the rifles used by his friend Syed Rizwan Farook and Farook’s wife to open fire on a gathering of Farook’s co-workers from San Bernardino County nearly five years ago.

After killing 14 people and wounding 22, Farook and his wife were killed in a gunbattle with authorities.

Federal prosecutors and probation officials had recommended a 25-year sentence for Marquez. His lawyer said authorities were trying to hold his client responsible for an attack he didn’t commit and asked for a five-year sentence, according to government court filings.

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Prosecutors contended Marquez must be held responsible for his actions, which included giving semiautomatic weapons and explosives to a person he knew was inspired by violent extremists and plotting with him to kill large numbers of innocent people.

“And the undeniable truth remains: If defendant had not illegally purchased two assault weapons for a terrorist, that terrorist and his wife would not have used those firearms to murder 14 people and wound 22 survivors,” federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing ahead of the hearing.

On Dec. 2, 2015, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a gathering of San Bernardino County employees.

The government contends that several years before the attack, Marquez and Farook had plotted two terrorist attacks on Riverside City College and a local highway, California 91.

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But Marquez abandoned the idea of the attacks and distanced himself from Farook in 2012 after three other Southern California men were arrested on suspicion of planning to go to Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops. Eventually, the three and a fourth man were sentenced to federal prison for conspiracy.

Marquez was arrested soon after the 2015 attack and in meetings with the FBI described his research into terrorist attacks, purchase of explosives and the plans he made with Farook, the government said.

Marquez pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiring with Farook to provide material support to terrorists and making false statements regarding the rifles he had purchased in his own name using Farook’s money.

He later tried to withdraw his plea to one of the counts, but the request was denied by the court.


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