San Bernardino Terrorist’s Brother, Others Arrested on Federal Charges

Tashfeen Malik, Syed Farook
Tashfeen Malik, Syed Farook / AP

Three individuals with family connections to Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the terrorists who opened fire on a San Bernardino, California, holiday party last December, have been arrested on multiple charges.

Rizwan Farook’s older brother Syed Raheel Farook, his wife Tatiana Farook, and her sister Mariya Chernykh were arrested on charges of federal conspiracy, marriage fraud, and making false statements, the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced in a statement Thursday.

The three were charged in a five-count indictment filed in federal court this week. Raheel Farook and his wife were arrested in Corono, Calif., and Chernykh was arrested in Ontario, Calif.

The Los Angeles Times reported that all three individuals were charged with conspiring to create the illusion of marriage between Chernykh and Enrique Marquez, the man awaiting trial for allegedly conspiring with Syed Rizwan Farook to provide material support to terrorists. The indictment alleges that Chernykh entered into a fraudulent marriage with Marquez in order to achieve legal status in the United States.

All three face a maximum of five years in prison for these charges. Additionally, Chernykh is also charged with fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents, perjury, and two counts of making false statements to federal agents. Chernykh faces a maximum of 25 years in federal prison for these charges.

"As I have said previously, we owe the victims, and the entire community of San Bernardino, a thorough investigation that uncovers all criminal activity surrounding these events," U.S. Eileen Decker said in a statement announcing the charges. "Today’s arrests open a new phase in the process of bringing to justice all individuals who allegedly committed crimes that were uncovered during our exhaustive investigation."

"The charges also reflect the importance we place on statements made to law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation. Those who lie to or conceal material information from law enforcement officers investigating terrorist acts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Decker added.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people in a shooting rampage at the  Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on December 2. They later died in a shootout with police.