Enrique Marquez, a friend of the San Bernardino, Calif. couple who shot and killed 14 people and who was suspected of supplying the couple with guns, was arrested Thursday. He was charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, officials said.
According to Reuters, the friend of the couple, 28-year-old Rizwan Farook and 29-year-old Tashfeen Malik, was charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists “for his role in plotting attacks on American soil in 2011 and 2012, attacks which were, fortunately, not carried out,” said Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin.
Marquez, 24, was also charged with making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of guns used in the rampage in federal court, according to the Justice Department and The Washington Post, and with defrauding immigration authorities by entering into a sham marriage with a member of Farook’s family.
Additionally, Marquez was charged with a firearms violation for following through with a “straw purchase” of weapons on Farook’s behalf, Reuters reports.
He is expected to make his first court appearance in federal court later on Thursday.
These are the first charges to surface from the worldwide investigation into the attack on Dec. 2 at an office party, which has been focused on Marquez.
Marquez checked himself into a psychiatric facility in the L.A. area just after the shootings and was connected to Farook and Malik in several ways. This made him a prime figure in the investigation.
The FBI raided his house and questioned him for several days. Sources told Reuters that Marquez was cooperative. Apparently, Marquez and Farook plotted an attack in 2012 but abandoned the plan.
Marquez, who had known Farook since they were teens, legally purchased the two AR-15 assault-style rifles used in the attack of Farook’s co-workers. Farook, born in the U.S.-born Pakistani immigrants and Pakistani-born Malik were killed in the police shootout a few hours after the attack.
The FBI explained that the two men discussed martyrdom online before they were even Islamic State supporters.
Additionally, Marquez converted to Islam around the time that Farook became more devoted to it in 2008. However, Marquez later told Azmi Hasan, manager at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco, that Islam wasn’t for him.
The attack has stirred up some serious fear and concerns in Americans over national security and the Islamic State. It’s also been a huge issue in the talk surrounding the U.S. presidential campaign.
The San Bernardino came just weeks after the Islamic State attack that killed 130 people in Paris. FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that no evidence exists linking the San Bernardino attack to the terrorist cell.
President Obama is set to travel to San Bernardino Friday to meet with the shooting victims’ families in private.