Judge accepts guilty plea in terrorist attack

Pablo Tucker
February 17, 2017

A California man who bought high-powered rifles used in the San Bernardino terror attack pleaded guilty on Thursday as the father of one of the victims angrily denounced the plea deal as a "slap on the wrist".

The 25-year-old is the only person criminally charged in the December 2015 attack on a meeting of San Bernardino County employees that also left 22 people wounded. At the time, the death toll was the highest in a terrorist attack in the US since September 11, 2001, though the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., claimed 49 lives just seven months later. Prosecutors said the 25-year-old agreed to buy two AR-15 rifles from a sporting goods store, because Farook and Tashfeen Malik anxious their Middle Eastern appearance might arouse suspicion.

In addition to purchasing the weapons, Marquez pleaded guilty to conspiring with Farook to draft earlier mass killing plots targeting a community college and a gridlocked Southern California freeway. "But there are connections between their planning in 2011 and 2012 that we believe assisted in the terrible attacks that took place in 2015".


"Marquez purchased two of the weapons used in the terror attack ... a horrific act which led to great suffering and a lifetime of pain for the survivors and for the loved ones of those murdered", said Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office.

The defendant moved to Riverside and met Farook, his next-door neighbor, in 2005.

The two men also schemed to go on a killing spree on the eastbound 91 Freeway during afternoon rush-hour, identifying a particular section of the roadway that had no exits, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


In a separate investigation, three people have pleaded guilty in a sham marriage in which a Russian woman ‘married Marquez to obtain immigration benefits.

Marquez and Chernykh signed immigration documents, under penalty of perjury, falsely stating that they both lived at the same Riverside address, prosecutors said. She's slated to be sentenced November 20.

Farook, the US-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and Malik, a Pakistani native he married in Saudi Arabia in 2014, died in a shootout with police four hours after the massacre.


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