US & Canada

Enrique Marquez pleads not guilty in San Bernardino case

Enrique Marquez Jr appears in federal court in Riverside, California Image copyright AP

Enrique Marquez Jr, who stands accused of buying the guns used in the San Bernardino attacks, has pleaded not guilty to the five charges he faces.

Mr Marquez, 24, was shackled when he answered "not guilty" as he was asked for his plea.

He was the first person arrested over the deadliest terror attack in the US since 9/11, and could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted.

The attacks in early December left 14 dead at a health centre in California.

Mr Marquez is charged with plotting with gunman Syed Farook to attack a university in 2011 and 2012, as well as providing the two rifles that were used by Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, in the attacks.

Mr Marquez told the authorities that he bought the weapons because he looked white, while Farook looked like he was of Middle Eastern descent.

Police killed Farook and his wife in a shootout a few hours after they open fired inside a holiday party attended by Farook's co-workers.

Image copyright ABC News
Image caption A three-count criminal complaint has been filed against Mr Marquez

According to the criminal complaint, Mr Marquez phoned the authorities hours after the San Bernardino shooting and told the dispatcher that the attackers "used my gun".

Mr Marquez then divulged the earlier terror plots that were never carried out, including a plan to attack a local university where he and Farook were once students.

They had also planned to attack a motorway by dropping pipe bombs on cars and shooting people and police officers, he told investigators.

Several pipe bombs were used in the San Bernardino attack early last month, however none of them exploded.

A trial by jury for Mr Marquez is scheduled for 23 February.

On Tuesday, the FBI appealed for help from the public in piecing together the couple's movements following the attacks.