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Man admits buying weapons for San Bernardino massacre

[LOS ANGELES] The man accused of buying the weapons used in the San Bernardino terror attack has admitted his involvement in the massacre, authorities said on Tuesday.

Enrique Marquez, 25, purchased the assault rifles used by his longtime friend Syed Rizwan Farook and Farook's wife Tashfeen Malik, who together gunned down 14 people and wounded 22 others in December 2015 before being shot dead by police.

Marquez was arrested two weeks after the attack, the deadliest on US soil since September 11, 2001, and investigators uncovered evidence that he had bought the guns in 2011 and 2012.

Deirdre Fike, assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office, said Marquez's actions had "led to great suffering and a lifetime of pain for the survivors and for the loved ones of those murdered." "I'm gratified that this guilty plea will spare the victims and the San Bernardino community from having to relive the gruesome details of the attack during what would likely be a lengthy trial," she added.

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Marquez, who has been in custody since his arrest, was originally set to go on trial in July last year, but the hearing was put back seven months due to the huge volume of complex documents that had to be examined.

He was facing up to 50 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, lying about about the purchase of the two weapons used in the December 2 massacre and marriage fraud.

In a deal filed in federal court, he agreed to enter a formal plea on Thursday admitting he had provided weapons, explosives and personnel to Farook and Malik.

He now faces a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, Marquez discussed with Farook the use of radio-controlled improvised explosive devices for attacks that never materialized on the nearby Riverside City College and on the 91 freeway.

Marquez also agreed to admit making false statements in connection with the acquisition of the two assault rifles.

"We are, and will continue to be, deeply committed to pursuing the prosecution of everyone who was even remotely related to the San Bernardino attack," attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement.

"As these criminal cases begin to resolve, we hope that the victims of the attack and the community of San Bernardino are comforted in some small way by the knowledge that the Department of Justice and the law enforcement community stands with them in this investigation, resolute and committed to justice."

As part of the investigation into the atrocity, three people have pleaded guilty to being part of a sham marriage scheme in which a Russian woman wed Marquez to obtain immigration benefits.

AFP

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