When Enrique Marquez realized that his friend and neighbor Syed Rizwan Farook had used Marquez’s guns to slaughter 14 people, he went out and drank nine beers.
At some point in this process of inebriation he posted a cryptic and garbled and, to his friends, disturbing message on Facebook — “I’m. Very sorry sguys. It was a pleasure” — and called 911.
911 operator: “Why do you feel like you want to kill yourself? What’s going on?”
Marquez: “I don’t know. My neighbor. He did the San Bernardino shooting.”
911: “Your neighbor did what?”
Marquez: “He did the San Bernardino shooting. … The [effing] ***hole used my gun in the shooting.”
The foregoing is from the richly detailed affidavit filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Thursday when charging Marquez with three federal crimes, including conspiring to commit acts of terrorism in 2011 and 2012. Here is the affidavit.
Marquez was obviously no criminal mastermind. Indeed he emerges as a pathetic figure who realized that he had set himself up for disaster and who, when that disaster happened, flipped out, checked himself into a mental hospital, and then began talking and talking and talking with the FBI. He waived his Miranda rights and let the FBI question him for 11 consecutive days.
“His life is over,” one of Marquez’s co-workers at Morgan’s Tavern in Riverside, told my colleague Sari Horwitz and me a few days ago as we were trying to learn more about Marquez. His co-workers didn’t know that Marquez, just a few years ago, had plotted to commit acts of terror. They knew he had a sham marriage to a Russian woman. But otherwise he was just a goofy guy, pudgy, impressionable.
“No one really knows me,” Marquez wrote on Facebook in a conversation with a friend back on Nov. 5. “I lead multiple lives and I’m wondering when it’s all going to collapse. … My life turned ridiculous.”
His friend wrote back: “I think everyone leads multiple lives.”
Marquez: “Involved in terrorist plots, drugs, antisocial behavior, marriage, might go to prison for fraud, etc.”
He was led into radical Islamist ideology by his next door neighbor, Syed Rizwan Farook, known as Rizwan. Marquez converted to Islam. When they weren’t working on cars in Farook’s driveway, the two friends spent time in Farook’s house listening to recordings of speeches by the radical U.S.-born imam Anwar al-Awlaki.
They plotted to attack a community college in Riverside, throwing bombs into the cafeteria and picking off people as they fled. They had another scheme to use pipe bombs to clog rush-hour traffic on a stretch of Rt. 91, with Farook going car to car to shoot people while Marquez on a hill would be the sniper killing the cops and other first responders. They gave up on the plan after the FBI busted four people in 2012 for conspiring to attack Americans in Afghanistan. The affidavit says Marquez told agents he had tried to distance himself from Farook.
But he remained entangled. There was that sham marriage — to a Russian woman who was the sister of Farook’s brother’s wife (if you can follow that). And there was the matter of the guns. During the terror-plotting days, Marquez had bought two rifles and given them to Farook, who thought he wouldn’t have passed a background check.
Marquez told the 911 operator that he gave Farook the guns “only for safe storage.”
Then he says, in another garbled comment, “To me, he was reliable enough for him for storage, like to store my gun.”
So what does a society do with someone like Enrique Marquez?
The three federal charges carry a maximum penalty, if convicted, of 35 years total (15 for providing material support to terrorists; 10 for making a false statement in connection with acquisition of firearms; 10 for visa fraud).