“I am purchasing this firearm for my or my immediate family’s personal use. The dealer has explained to me that the straw purchase of a firearm is illegal and I affirm that I am not purchasing this firearm for anyone other than myself.”
By S.E. Williams
This is the confirmation on ATF Form 4473 completed, signed and dated November 25, 2011, by Enrique Marquez, long-time friend and neighbor of deceased terrorist, Sayed Farook. These weapons were eventually used in the December 2nd terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
When the FBI filed charges last Thursday against Marquez, most observers were hardly surprised; however, many were chilled by the startling details of other terrorist plots conceived by Marquez and Farook that never came to fruition.
The saga of their relationship and evolution to radical Islam is unsettling as revealed in the Federal Criminal Complaint filed December 17th against Marquez in the United States Central District Court of Riverside. Marquez was charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists; making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms; and, fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents.
An FBI Affidavit (Affidavit) filed in support of the complaint and reviewed by The Voice revealed the following details about the Marquez-Farook relationship; Marquez’s purchase of the weapons and other material used in the December 2nd terrorist attack in San Bernardino; and, the startling details of their unfulfilled terror plots.
According to the Affidavit, Marquez moved to Riverside in 2004, where he met Syed Rizan Farook. In late 2005, Farook introduced Marquez to Islam and began educating him about the religion. Marquez soon converted to Islam and shortly thereafter, Farook introduced him to radical Islamic ideology.
The radicalization education included an expressed disdain toward Muslims in the U.S. military who Farook claimed killed other Muslims. It also included discussions of the extremist views of the now-deceased Imam and Islamic lecturer, Anwar al-Aulaqi.
According to FBI agent Joel Anderson, Farook and Marquez began planning terrorist acts in the Southern California region sometime in 2011. The plans included using firearms and explosives to attack the Riverside Community College (RCC) where both were once students. They selected this location primarily because they were familiar with the campus. The two specifically discussed attacking the cafeteria or library areas because they wanted to inflict maximum casualties.
According to Marquez, they first planned to throw pipe bombs into the cafeteria area from an elevated position on the second floor and position themselves to escape without detection. Next, they planned to conduct a follow-up attack at another location. Marquez even drew a diagram of the area on campus where the two planned to launch the attack.
Marquez also shared details with the FBI about a planned, rush-hour attack on the 91 Freeway. He identified the exact location where he and Farook planned to carry out this assault as well. According to Marquez, they selected the particular section of SR91 because of its lack of exits—they believed the lack of exits would increase the number of targets in the eastbound lanes during afternoon rush hour traffic. FBI agents confirmed the specific section of SR91 identified by Marquez, in fact, has no exits in either the eastbound or westbound lanes.
The execution details of the planned attack on the 91 Freeway were chilling. Marquez planned to position himself in the hills south of the freeway as a lookout for Farook. Farook would then start the attack by throwing pipe bombs into the eastbound lanes of the 91. The bombs, of course, would disable and stop traffic.
According to Marquez, Farook then planned to move among the stopped vehicles shooting his rifle into them and killing people. Marquez was to shoot into the stopped vehicles from his position on the hillside while also watching for any approaching law enforcement or emergency responders, his priority—shoot law enforcement before shooting life-saving personnel.
The two took further steps toward carrying out their plans by purchasing firearms, ammunition and other tactical gear on two occasions from local sporting good stores. Marquez admitted he was in fact, the actual purchaser of the weapons. He also admitted he bought the weapons (a Smith and Wesson rifle and an Oracle rifle) for Farook as part of their plans to attack RCC and the 91 freeway. The two practiced at local firing ranges on several occasions in preparation.
At the scene of the December 2nd shootout between the terrorists and law enforcement—law enforcement personnel recovered four firearms; included among them were the Smith and Wesson and Oracle rifles purchased by Marquez.
In the Affidavit, the FBI official explained sometime around 2012, Marquez purchased explosive materials that included a bottle of smokeless powder to be used to make explosives with Farook for a future attack. The FBI has confirmed the powder used in the Improvised Explosive Device (IED or pipe bomb) recovered at the Inland Regional Center was the same powder purchased by Marquez.
Marquez also confirmed to the FBI, he and Farook purchased the powder for the purpose of constructing an explosive device in support of the terrorist attacks they had planned; and, that he and Farook reviewed Inspire Magazine’s instructions on how to make an IED. Inspire Magazine is an on-line English language publication allegedly published by al-Qaeda.
In addition, Marquez admitted the “Christmas tree light string” used in the IED and recovered at the Inland Regional Center belonged to him. The Christmas tree light filament was supposed to initiate the device. According to the FBI, Inspire Magazine contained written and photographic instructions on how to build an IED using pipes, powder and Christmas tree light filament.
During the same period Marquez purchased the powder, he and Farook continued preparations to carry out their terrorist plots—those efforts included more practice at local firing ranges.
The relationship between the two men continued into 2015; however, in 2013 their contact began to wane and they (according to Marquez) ceased planning any attacks together. Marquez claimed he distanced himself from Farook and ceased plotting with him after 2012 for a number of reasons. Those reasons included the arrest and subsequent conviction and sentencing of two Inland Empire men that year in a terrorist plot to kill Americans.
The weapons used by Farook and his wife, Tafsheen Malik in the December 2nd attack on the Inland Regional Center were the ones purchased by Marquez in 2011-12; however, the FBI proved Marquez actually worked that day and was not involved in the murders.
On December 3, within hours of the December 2nd attack, Marquez made a frantic call to 911 and claimed he felt like killing himself. During the call he explained how his neighbor did the San Bernardino shooting and exclaimed, the shooter had used his gun. He also claimed during the call, he had given the gun to the shooter to store for him. When asked by the 911 operator for the name of the guy that had his gun, Marquez responded, “It’s Sayed Farook.”
According to the FBI, also on December 3, Marquez entered the emergency room at the UCLA Harbor Medical Center where he appeared very anxious and emotional. As a result, he was assigned to the psychiatric ward and later placed on an involuntary hold. During his time at the hospital facility he also made several references to Farook, their relationship and the incident.
The charges against Marquez carry sentences of up to fifteen years each. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, December 21.
In an interesting aside, in November 2014, Marquez entered into a fraudulent marriage with a woman who was the sister of the wife of Farook’s brother. For the arrangement he was paid $200 a month. In July 2014, he submitted false statements to the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services that claimed he lived with his ‘sham’ wife.
The Voice will continue to follow this story.