Enrique Marquez, who allegedly purchased the assault rifles used in the San Bernardino mass shooting, could face several charges, including lying on his application to buy the guns and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, legal experts tell the Los Angeles Times. Marquez, 24, legally purchased the rifles from an authorized gun dealer in 2011 and 2012, but there was no record of any transfer of the weapons from him to Syed Farook or Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik. Farook and Malik killed 14 people and wounded many others in an attack on a social services office. Marquez told officials that Farook asked him to purchase the guns because Farook feared he would not pass a background check, a government source said.
If Marquez knowingly bought the guns for Farook to use in an earlier attack (which Farook apparently abandoned), he could be charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act or conspiracy to commit murder, lawyers said. Either offense carries a potential life sentence. “I think the guy is definitely facing some serious potential problems,” said University of California Hastings law Prof. Rory Little, a former federal prosecutor. “The idea that he is talking to them without a lawyer makes everybody gasp.” Ismail Ramsey, another former federal prosecutor, said conspiracy can be charged if a suspect performed an overt act to carry out a crime, even if the crime was never committed. He cited the example of someone buying a ski mask to commit a bank robbery. Purchasing a ski mask is legal but buying it for a bank robbery could support a conspiracy charge, Ramsey said.