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Sentencing for gun supplier’s role in San Bernardino terror attack delayed to late October

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

Enrique Marquez Jr.’s sentencing in federal court for supplying the guns used in the Dec. 15, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 and wounded 22 has been postponed from Aug. 17 to Oct. 23.

Defense attorney John N. Aquilina said in papers that the delay was needed to research and address “significant and multiple issues” regarding briefs he anticipates filing in connection with Marquez’s sentencing.

The government has recommended 25 years in prison for Marquez, 28. He remains in custody.

Federal authorities have said Marquez did not know about the Redlands couple’s plans to open fire on Farook’s co-workers with the San Bernardino County Division of Environmental Health at the Inland Regional Center during a holiday party and training session.

Farook and Malik died later the same day in a shootout with law enforcement. As the massacre was underway, Malik, a native of Pakistan, pledged allegiance to the Middle Eastern terror group known as ISIS via Facebook, authorities have said.

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Marquez pleaded guilty in February 2017 to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and also to making a false statement in connection with buying the guns. He asked to withdraw those pleas in May 2019.

But U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal denied Marquez’s bid to withdraw his pleas to supplying the two AR-15-style rifles used in the massacre by Syed Rizwan Farook and Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik.

Marquez had purchased the guns in 2011 and 2012 for attacks on the 91 Freeway and at Riverside City College that he and Farook, a next-door Riverside neighbor and friend, had plotted but did not carry out, the FBI has said.

The FBI said Marquez signed papers when he purchased the rifles stating they were for him when he really was acting as a straw buyer for Farook, who repaid him.

The Chicago-born Farook could have legally purchased the weapons but Marquez claimed Farook wanted him to buy the guns and avoid suspicions that might be raised if a “Middle Eastern”-looking man bought them, the FBI affidavit said.

While the two had grown distant by 2015, Farook had retained the guns, federal authorities said.

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© 2020 the San Bernardino County Sun