US Police have arrested three people with family ties to Syed Farook and his wife, who gunned down a party in in California's San Bernardino last year. A total of 14 people died and 22 were injured in the attacks.
Authorities said they arrested 31-year-old Raheel Farook, Syed Farook's brother on charges of federal conspiracy, marriage fraud and false statements. His Russian-born wife, Tatiana Farook and her younger sister, 26-year-old Mariya Chernykh were also arrested.
Chernykh was married to Enrique Marquez, who was charged in January this year for entering into a sham marriage with Chernykh and planning an attack with Syed Farook earlier. That attempt was aborted.
Tatiana and Farook were suspected of helping Marquez and Chernykh fake documents to strengthen their case for immigration. The accused face up to five years in jail if found guilty. Chernykh could land 25 years in prison if charges of lying, fraud and misuse of visas against her are proven.
Comprehensive probe underway
US Attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement that the arrests were "the latest step in the comprehensive investigation into the horrific attacks in San Bernardino last year." "We owe the victims, and the entire community of San Bernardino, a thorough investigation that uncovers all criminal activity surrounding these events," she added.
Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik (pictured above) gunned down a gathering of Farook's co-workers in San Bernardino, on December 2. A total of 14 people died and 22 were wounded. The couple were killed in a shootout with the police.
Since then, investigators have been struggling to find out whether the couple had any contact with extremists. The case drew wide attention in March, when the FBI filed a case against Apple to try and force it to hack into Farook's mobile phone and access encrypted data that could help solve the case.
mg/jm (dpa, AFP, AP)