Brother Of San Bernardino Gunman And Two Others Arrested
Three people with family connections to San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook were arrested Thursday morning in connection with the Dec. 2 terrorist attack. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Rizwan Farook's older brother Syed Raheel Farook is now in custody, along with his wife Tatiana Farook, and Tatiana's sister Mariya Chernykh. Chernykh's husband Enrique Marquez, Jr. is currently awaiting trial on charges of conspiring with Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012 to provide material support to terrorists. Marquez was also charged with entering into a sham marriage with Chernykh, and illegally signing an immigration form that falsely declared he was living with her.
The case against Chernykh and the Farooks stems from the overall investigation into the shooting, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office:
While investigating the terrorist attack, federal agents obtained official records showing that Marquez, a former neighbor of Syed Rizwan Farook’s, is married to Chernykh. The investigation determined that Marquez agreed to marry Chernykh so she could obtain immigration benefits that were not available to her because she is a Russian citizen and did not have legal status in the United States. The indictment alleges that Marquez received money from Chernykh to enter into the sham marriage.
The U.S. Attorney's Office charges that Syed Raheel Farook and Tatiana Farook took part in the conspiracy by, among other things, "witnessing Marquez and Chernykh’s wedding, taking staged family pictures of Marquez and Chernykh, establishing a joint checking account for Marquez and Chernykh, and creating a back-dated lease for Marquez and Chernykh to create the illusion that they shared a marital residence with Syed Raheel Farook and Tatiana Farook."
According to the L.A. Times, records have shown that Mariya Chernykh didn't actually live with Marquez, and instead resided in Ontario.
“Members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force worked around the clock in an attempt to find immediate answers in the days and weeks following the December murders in San Bernardino to ensure no additional threats to the community were present. As proof of our enduring commitment to the victims and their families, the FBI and our partners will continue to pursue all leads developed in this matter to build cases when evidence of a crime is revealed," James Struyk, acting Assistant Director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said in a press release.
All three defendants will be arraigned today in federal court.