Man Who Bought Rifles in Straw Purchase for San Bernardino Terrorists Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

malik farook san bernardino terrorists

This undated combination of file photos provided by the FBI, left, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows San Bernardino shooting suspects Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook. The husband and wife used the rifles to kill 14 people in a 2015 California terror attack. (FBI, left, and California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP, File)

While there are still probably members of the media who are confounded by the motivation for Rizwan Farook’s and Tashfeen Malik’s 2015 attack in the Inland Regional Center government building, there’s no question as to how they procured their firearms. A friend, Enrique Marquez, Jr., bought them for the married couple in a straw purchase. Fourteen people were murdered as a result. Farook and Rizwan were later killed in a shootout with police.

Yesterday, Marquez was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the straw purchase and providing material support to terrorists.

By Stefanie Dazio, AP

The man who bought two rifles that husband-and-wife assailants used to kill 14 people in a Southern California terror attack nearly five years ago was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

Enrique Marquez Jr. supplied the weapons that Syed Rizwan Farook and Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, used on Dec. 2, 2015, to open fire on a meeting and holiday gathering of San Bernardino County employees who worked with Farook. Minutes later, a post on a Facebook page associated with Malik pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State terror group. The couple fled and died later that day in a gunbattle with authorities.

Marquez, 28, showed no emotion during a federal court hearing as relatives of the victims asked the judge to give him a lengthy sentence for providing Farook the guns years before the shooting, which at the time was the deadliest terror attack in the United States since 9/11.

Gregory Clayborn, whose daughter Sierra was killed, said Marquez should be held responsible for the massacre though he wasn’t the gunman.

“He’s a terrorist, your honor,” Clayborn told the judge. “And if you let him out, he’s going to do it again.”

Prosecutors sought a 25-year sentence for Marquez, arguing that he gave semiautomatic weapons and explosives to Farook though he knew Farook was inspired by violent extremists and had plotted with him years earlier to kill large numbers of people in attacks on a highway and college campus.

This July 27, 2014 file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and her husband, Syed Farook, at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP, File)

At the hearing, federal prosecutor Melanie Sartoris said Marquez has a high IQ and the mental capacity to understand the likelihood of an attack once he had bought the weapons.

“He knew all along that this would happen,” but he did nothing, she said.

The defense had asked for a five-year term. Marquez’s attorney, John Aquilina, said his client had been manipulated by Farook since he was 13, when they met as neighbors.

Marquez was desperate to socialize with others and needed to escape abuse at home. He had stopped speaking to Farook years before the attack and didn’t know it was going to happen, Aquilina said.

“Mr. Marquez’s sentence should not be reflective of what happened in San Bernardino,” he said.

In determining the sentence, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal said he took into account that Marquez had called 911 and cooperated with authorities.

“In a legal sense, I cannot punish Mr. Marquez for your loss,” Bernal told the families in his courtroom. “He is not responsible for the murders.”

Hilario Venoya Jr., whose son was shot twice and survived, said he wished Marquez received a longer sentence. His son didn’t attend the hearing because he is trying to move on.

“He’ll never be the same,” Venoya said.

Marquez and his family moved next door to Farook’s family in 2005. Authorities said that by 2011, Marquez was spending time at Farook’s house, watching videos involving what they said was “radical Islamic content.’”

Several years before the shooting, authorities said Marquez and Farook plotted terrorist attacks on Riverside City College and a highway, State Route 91.

But Marquez abandoned the idea and distanced himself from Farook in 2012 after three other Southern California men were arrested on suspicion of planning to go to Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops. Eventually, the three and a fourth man were sentenced to federal prison for conspiracy.

Farook met Malik, who lived in Pakistan, online. She traveled to the United States to marry Farook in 2014.

To carry out the shooting, the couple left their 6-month-old daughter with Farook’s mother, saying they were going to a doctor’s appointment. Afterward, police chased the pair through San Bernardino, which is 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Los Angeles. Soon after they were killed, Marquez called 911 to say the shooter was his neighbor and had used his gun.

In this Dec. 2, 2015 file photo from video, armored vehicles surround an SUV following a shootout in San Bernardino, Calif. following  a terror attack on a government building. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were killed in the shootout. (KTTV-TV via AP)

The next day, Marquez went to a hospital emergency room and was placed in a psychiatric ward. He was later arrested, and in FBI interviews, described his research into terror attacks, purchase of explosives and the plans he had made with Farook, according to U.S. authorities.

Marquez pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiring with Farook to provide material support to terrorists and making false statements regarding the rifles he had purchased in his name using Farook’s money. He later tried to withdraw his plea to one of the counts, but the request was denied by the court.


  1. avatar Leigh says:

    We need to see more of this. Convictions for straw purchases. Laws already on the books.

    1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      Really? You think so? Since November 2019 I have been told by employees at 3 different Pennsylvania gun shops that Pennsylvania state police are telling them that PSP is treating buying a gun for your spouse as a straw purchase. There are clear exception in PA law that remove transfers between spouses (and parents and children, and grandparents and grandchildren) from any requirement for a transfer through the system. There is also an exception in PA law for lending a firearm to someone with a License To Carry Firearms. Neither of those are stopping PSP from abusing the law to railroad law abiding people.

      Please stop calling for enforcing the laws that are on the books. The laws on the books suck and get used as a weapon against law abiding gun owners and innocent people a lot more than they get used against criminals.

      1. avatar James Campbell says:

        So, if Rep ilhan omar purchased a firearm for her spouse, would that be a transfer to her husband or brother? Or could it be considered two transfers by the ATF?🤣

        Trump/Pence 2020

        Now dance chimps, the hand on your leash COMMANDS it of you!

        1. avatar Chewboxa says:

          Look how many people are laughing at your ‘joke’, you ridiculous half wit.

          Keep dancing my 🚩 🐵.

          Trump/Pence 2020

        2. avatar James Campbell says:

          That’s it monkey, DANCE.
          Just as I COMMANDED of you.
          Trump/Pence 2020

      2. avatar FedUp says:

        If it’s a gift for your spouse, you’re buying a gift and you’re the purchaser.
        Read the instructions for, I believe it’s Line 7 on the 4473.

        If your spouse is the buyer and you’re picking it up for them, well it’s a straw purchase if they don’t fill out and sign the 4473.

    2. avatar Jim Warren says:

      You mean like Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and Senate hopeful? The story was in the news and totally ignored.

    3. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      All gun laws are unconstitutional. I see you are one of those “I support gun rights, BUT….” guys.

  2. avatar Sam I Am says:

    How can this be? The prisons are being emptied of dangerous inmates.

    1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

      Next democrap gets in the white house will pardon him.

    2. avatar Not Larry from Texas says:

      Those are state prisons you sarcastic dolt not federal. Uncle Sam you do your full ride.

      Try again.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Those are state prisons you sarcastic dolt not federal. ”

        Fine. You get a cookie.

      2. avatar James Policke says:

        AKAIK in the federal system, as long as the sentence isn’t life (which means life), if you mind your manners you can get up to 15% off your sentence. Which is still 17 years in a place I don’t want to be.

  3. avatar Dude says:

    “While there are still probably members of the media who are confounded by the motivation for Rizwan Farook’s and Tashfeen Malik’s 2015 attack”

    Workplace violence?
    Afraid crappy health insurance will be taken away?
    Maybe we’ll never know their motivations. It’s best to move on.

    1. avatar The Cold Backhand of God says:

      People know what the real motivation was but political correctness has a habit of robbing them of common sense. It’s like ignoring a pissed off 800lb ape in a daycare, then wondering what cause him to pull the walls down.

  4. avatar Missouri_Mule says:

    The real crime is California gun control leaving the victims defenseless.

  5. avatar Jimmy Beam says:

    It was a peaceful shooting.

    1. avatar Lance Manion says:

      Mostly peaceful.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Am I missing something? Was Farook able to buy an AR15 on his own? He had a job and was well liked enough where his doomed co-workers threw a baby shower for his evil wife critter. Covering a suicide jihad plot seems kinda silly. I’m ok with the straw purchaser’ s sentence…

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Yeah. That’s totally missing from the story. There must have been some reason Farook couldn’t just buy his own guns.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I have been told, before, that the recipient status (prohibited or not) is completely irrelevant, buying a gun for somebody else is a straw purchase and may be prosecuted. Sounds seriously stupid to me, but laws which allow selective prosecution seem to be getting more and more popular.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Prosecution is *always* selective.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          It is and it’s not stupid. Remember that buying a gun as a GIFT is not a straw purchase. If you’re buying a gun FOR someone and it’s not a gift, why are you doing it? Why can’t they do it?

          In the end it’s much like DUI laws (which I know some nutjobs also decry)- enforcement. True, someone driving drunk does not necessarily kill someone but since we don’t have a crystal ball we make laws against DUI because otherwise you couldn’t enforce anything until someone is dead. There’s no ‘attempted negligent manslaughter’ because there’s no intent. With straw purchases if they were only illegal when someone is known to be prohibited there would be no way to enforce it because the defendant can always say “well, I don’t have access to NICS so I didn’t know they were prohibited”.

          There’s a part of the transfer form that addresses stray buying. If you don’t want to risk spending 20 years in federal prison, don’t lie on it. If you are straw buying and answer it honestly, nothing happens to you… except that you can’t buy the gun.

      2. avatar Mark N says:

        He could. He was a US citizen with no criminal record. He was covering his tracks because as a Pakistani he felt such a purchase would draw unwanted attention.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          So, to avoid unwanted attention he murdered 14 people who had done noting to him?

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Straw purchase my ass. He was a conspirator in a mass murder plot. Well, I guess that the straw purchase crime was easier to prove for a lazy prosecutor.

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      So much this.

    2. avatar R. Corrino says:

      I would not call it lazy. Maybe they wanted something unambiguous that would stick. Sort of like tax evasion for Capone

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I practiced law for over 30 years. IMO, the phrase “lazy prosecutor” is a redundancy.

        1. avatar Tired of the bs says:

          So true, lazy prosecutor is redundant, ours only goes after sure wins. It’s been very obvious lately this being election time.

      2. avatar Madcapp says:

        Capone had inept representation. He should have just claimed that he was Amish.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Are the Amish exempt from paying Federal taxes?

        2. avatar Not Larry from Texas says:

          Amish exemptions

          Amish do receive an exemption from Social Security, signing away the right to receive Social Security benefits in the process.  Amish were granted exemption from participation in Social Security in recognition of the fact that Amish communities care for their old and infirm.  Amish also consider programs such as Social Security to be insurance programs, which contradict Amish beliefs against participating in commercial insurance

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      Lazy or one that doesn’t trust juries.

  8. avatar American Patriot says:

    He’ll probably serve 5 & get out……It’s Ca!

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Nah, it’s federal, not CA, he’ll serve 20 and get out, if he behaves.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Not a chance. When you go in the federal pokey, you’re serving the vast majority of your sentence. Doesn’t matter what state the crime was in.

  9. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    Funny, even if I did watch MSM, I doubt I’d ever see this story!

  10. avatar ACAB says:

    Great, now go after Eric Holder and the ATF for Fast and Furious.

    1. avatar James Campbell says:

      And biden, and O’bummer.

      Trump/Pence 2020

      Time for the dembots to dance. That’s a command!

      1. avatar Chewboxa says:

        Yawn. You are a really dull ‘man’, aren’t you?

        Now dance, my personally troll and 🚩 monkey 🐒

        Trump/Pence 2020

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Y’know, a purple hijab would really bring out Tashfeen’s eyes.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      A melon baller would really bring out her eyes.

      1. avatar James Campbell says:


      2. avatar Tired of the bs says:

        That was funny!!

      3. avatar =TW= says:

        “Melon baller!” FTW!

  12. avatar Debbie W. says:

    If the convicted refused to sell the guns to the terrorists nancy pelosi would have called him a racist.
    To avoid liability it is prudent to know who you are dealing with when selling or buying a firearm, etc.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      At least, if they know who YOU are.

  13. avatar John in FL says:

    Is this the gun show loophole I’ve heard so much about?

  14. avatar Baby Arlo says:

    Arlo Guthrie

    Gone Fishing

    It’s been a great 50+ years of being a working entertainer, but I reached the difficult decision that touring and stage shows are no longer possible. I’ve cancelled the upcoming shows, and am not accepting offers for new ones. That’s the short version. For the longer version continue reading…

    As a folksinger, I never really thought much about getting older. It seemed to me that I could just continue year after year, decade after decade, singing and playing as I had done for most of my life. As the years went by, it got more difficult to keep touring, but I did it, mostly because I’d been doing it my entire life. It was the life I knew and loved.

    In 2016 on April 1st, April Fools Day, I got really dizzy in the parking lot of the hotel, and started seeing as though I were looking through a kaleidoscope. That evening the show went on as though nothing had happened. I had no idea I’d just encountered a mini stroke until weeks later, when I was told about it. It didn’t appear to affect my performance, or my state of being. I continued touring for the next 4 years.
    Then, on Thanksgiving Day 2019 (of all freaking days) it happened again. This time I was on my way to The Church / The Guthrie Center to help out with our annual Thanksgiving Dinner that we hold every year. I had pulled over to fuel up and realized I couldn’t continue to drive safely, as everything was spinning around, sort of like the old days, but without the help of illegal substances. I was taken to the hospital, and was under evaluation, when I broke out. I had an important gig at Carnegie Hall in New York – The end of an annual series I’d been doing for decades and it was Sold Out. I had to be there. It was imperative.

    The next morning I left the hospital, took the family and headed for New York. And what a show it was! We wrapped up 50 years with a terrific evening with the entire family on stage. I really enjoyed it.

    The following day I flew to my home in Sebastian, FL just as I had done for years, this time with the history of Carnegie Hall behind me. My girlfriend, Marti picked me up at the airport, and we settled into the routine of being on the river I loved. Two nights after arriving home, I awoke in the morning and was lurching from sIde to side. I knew something was wrong, and went to keep a doctors appointment we’d previously set up. The doc said “You need to go to the hospital – Now.”

    So, Marti took me to the hospital nearby in Vero Beach. They kept me there for 3 days, running tests of all kinds, and essentially informed me that I’d suffered a stroke. This time was more serious, as I’d lost some ability to walk, and I wondered if if would be able to play music. I spent about a week in a rehab center to re-learn the basics, like walking. I went home after that, and began a regimen of playing guitar, walking… All the things I would need to continue touring and performing. During the entire time, Marti kept the family and close friends advised as to my progress, and took really great care of me. I needed all the help I could get. And she was there to see it done right.
    By the the time our first shows began in 2020, I was at about at 80% and felt like I was improving. Then the pandemic hit. All the shows we had planned for 2020 were at first, postponed, then rescheduled and finally cancelled. My hopes for a gradual recovery onstage came to an abrupt end.

    Meanwhile, I’d decided back in 2018 to move from the home in Florida. And just as I’d returned from our last gig in Tennessee, a buyer appeared, and we had a deal on the table to sell The CrabHouse. I wasn’t in any shape to go through the intricacies of selling a guitar pick, let alone a home with 30 years of stuff we’d collected. Marti ended up doing it all. She finalized the deal, and dealt with the stuff that either had to be sold, moved or thrown out. It was quite a lot. But, through garage sales, online markets, movers and friends, she’d pretty much emptied the CrabHouse of everything, and we moved into her place about a mile away.

    We were there for a few weeks, before it was safe enough to return to The Farm in Massachusetts. That was in June 2020. Since then we’ve been holed up at The Farm trying to keep out of harms way, and also trying to provide some online entertainment for our friends who were, and continue to be, holed up wherever they are. My band and crew arranged a few short gigs that were filmed at The Church, but when I saw the play-back in the editing room I realized that it was not up to the standards I expected of myself, let alone the expectations that our friends and fans had come to enjoy.

    A folksinger’s shelf life may be a lot longer than a dancer or an athlete, but at some point, unless you’re incredibly fortunate or just plain whacko (either one or both) it’s time to hang up the “Gone Fishing” sign. Going from town to town and doing stage shows, remaining on the road is no longer an option.

    I don’t remember answering the question on the other side of that piece of paper when I was asked “Kid! Have you rehabilitated yourself?” But, the short answer is now clearly, “No!” In fact, I hope to be a thorn in the side of a new administration pretty soon. Tom Paine once wrote “To argue with a man who has renounced the use … of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead….” In other words, you cannot and should not argue with people who don’t care, or hold the caring of others in contempt. A healthy suspicion of authority, left, right or center has been the hallmark of my career since the beginning, and I will continue to poke fun at cultural, political, or personal absurdities as I see it. I’m actually looking forward to it.

    I’m happy, healthy and good to go, even if I’m not going anywhere. I’ve taken back 6-9 months that I used to spend on the road, and enjoying myself with Marti, my family and friends. In short – Gone Fishing.

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      WHAT the freak?!? You can get anything you want at Arlo’s restaurant. Excepting Arlo😏😏😏😏

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      I’m in Group W; didn’t understand any of this.

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Are we catching this? The Truth About Guthrie!

  15. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    If you can’t do the time don’t do the crime, he’s Farooked.

  16. avatar Bill says:

    The guy just bought some guns and then later sold them. He wasn’t a straw purchaser at all. The US attorney’s office simply likes to pressure people into pleas by threatening them with life sentences if they don’t cop out. The federal public defender’s office is also nothing but a rope that the government lends you to hang yourself with and they will never stand up to the government to defend a client.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      “In late 2011 and 2012, Marquez allegedly purchased two firearms and portrayed himself as the actual purchaser of the rifles, when he was in fact buying the weapons for Farook as part of the plan to attack RCC and SR-91. According to the affidavit, Marquez told investigators that he agreed to purchase the weapons because “his appearance was Caucasian, while Farook looked Middle-Eastern.”

      He hanged himself long before the charges were brought.

      1. avatar Mark N says:

        And with Farook’s money.

  17. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    It was mostly peaceful purchases

  18. avatar George Washington says:

    More BS news brought to you by the gun control industry…..


    Good luck…. if you think you’ll ever pin someone else’s crimes ON ME….PIGS!

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      You are an idiot. He didn’t buy a couple of AR for himself and decide to sell them later. He bought them for two terrorists. See the difference?

    2. avatar Hannibal says:


      You’re an idiot.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        To my knowledge I can sell firearms to whoever I want. Why wouldn’t I be able to?

  19. avatar Coolbreeze says:

    Math is fun! Lesssee…20 years divided by the 14 murders committed yields 1 year 5 months and 4 and a half days per murder. Is that justice? No. Maybe we take the number of years that each one murdered could have been reasonably expected to live, add them up and make that the murderer’s length of sentence. Lesssee…14 x 30 (estimated) =420 years. Since no one can live that long and providing life sustaining items (food, clothing, shelter, medical and spiritual needs) the rest of his natural life would essentially be wasted since he could never serve his sentence, therefore, I move that his life be ended promptly. No hate. No emotion. Just math.

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