The Muslim convert who supplied two of the weapons used in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attacks has cut a deal with federal authorities.
A man charged with buying two of the weapons used in the fatal December 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., will plead guilty to conspiracy and lying, the Los Angeles Times and other news organizations reported Tuesday.
Enrique Marquez, 25, of Riverside, Calif., agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and lying while buying a firearm, the Times and KABC reported, citing court documents.
In exchange, the government agreed to drop other charges against Marquez, according to the Times.
Marquez was a close friend of shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The two began attending a mosque together in 2010, the Times reported.
The pair planned attacks on a freeway in Corona and at Riverside City College in 2011 and 2012, but neither was successful, the Times reported.
Marquez also agreed to plead guilty to making false statements in connection with buying two rifles in connection with the attack, KABC reported.
“This defendant collaborated with and purchased weapons for a man who carried out the devastating December 2, 2015 terrorist attack that took the lives of 14 innocent people, wounded nearly two dozen, and impacted our entire nation,” KABC quoted U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker as saying in a statement.
It is not yet known what sentence Marquez will face in the plea deal, but it’s unlikely he’ll see the outside of a federal prison for a very long time.
The husband and wife terror team who carried out the attack were killed in a shootout with police several hours after the incident, just two miles from the scene. A local SWAT team training nearby took them out. The ISIS-inspired Farook and Marquez were able to buy their firearms despite going through the process of purchasing their firearms over the counter in the state with the strictest gun laws in the nation.
In plain English, Farook walked right through California’s paper laws on what constitutes a “legal gun,” just as he walked through laws against murder.
The 9mm Llama and Springfield Armory XD pistols were utterly unremarkable in every way, though Farook apparently equipped the XD with an aftermarket grip sleeve for comfort.
The two AR-15 carbines appear to have been purchased legally, but not transferred through an FFL.
They were both semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull), and Farook discovered something that the ATF could have told him in advance; it’s very difficult to convert an AR-15 to automatic fire without significant knowledge and equipment. He attempted to convert the M&P15 to fire fully-automatic, and botched the job. He’s lucky it still worked.
The rifles were later equipped with cheap aftermarket “grip pod” type foregrips, single-point slings, and red-dot optics, none of which made the rifles “more powerful” as claimed in an earlier Wall Street Journal report.
The San Bernardino terrorist attacks showed the futility of California’s strict gun laws, the inability of citizens to defend themselves under the state’s restrictive “may issue” concealed carry permitting scheme, and the failure of policies designating public buildings like the Inland Regional Center as “gun free zones.”
Paper gun laws are little to no deterrent to terrorists. What we do know is that the odds would have been improved in the favor of the victims of the San Bernardino attack if the Inland Regional Center wasn’t a “gun free zone,” California was a “shall issue” concealed carry state, and some of the victims had been armed to return fire.
Amy Wetsel, the widow of one of the victims of the attack, Michael Wetzel, applied for a carry permit in the wake of the shooting, and thinks that a concealed carrier might have made a difference.
Be armed. Be trained. Make a difference.