Brother of San Bernardino shooter arrested with two others

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FBI Says Warrants Served In San Bernardino Terror Attack Investigation

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Three people linked to the couple responsible for December's mass shooting in San Bernardino, California were arrested on Thursday on conspiracy, marriage fraud and other charges unrelated to the massacre, U.S. prosecutors said.

The trio included Syed Raheel Farook, whose brother Syed Rizwan Farook and sister-in-law, Pakistan-born Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people in a rampage that authorities have said was inspired by Islamist militants.

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Attorneys for the three did not immediately return calls seeking comment. But officials said the charges against them stemmed from an immigration-related investigation that spun off their probe into the massacre.

U.S. Navy veteran Syed Raheel Farook, 31, his wife, Tatiana Farook, 31, and her sister Mariya Chernykh, 26, were arrested by federal agents after being charged with conspiracy to make a false statement to immigration officials while under oath, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

The investigation found that in 2014 Enrique Marquez, who had been a friend of Syed Rizwan Farook, allegedly agreed in return for payment to marry Chernykh, a Russian citizen, so she could apply for permanent U.S. residency status, charging documents stated.

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Brother of San Bernardino shooter arrested with two others
Pictures of Wednesday's shooting victims are displayed at a makeshift memorial site Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 in San Bernardino, Calif. Thousands of employees of San Bernardino County are preparing to return to work Monday, five days after a county restaurant inspector and his wife opened fire on a gathering of his co-workers, killing 14 people and wounding 21. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A mourner holds a program with a picture of Isaac Amanios during a memorial service at St. Minas Church in Colton, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Amanios, 60-year-old environmental health inspector, fled his war-torn Eritrea for the United States in January 2000. He was fatally shot in the Dec. 2. mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Flowers and a portrait of Isaac Amanios are displayed at a memorial servic at St. Minas Church in Colton, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Isaac Amanios, 60-year-old environmental health inspector, fled his war-torn country in search of the American dream. Amanios immigrated to California in January 2000 from Ertiera. On Wednesday, he was among 14 people killed and 21 wounded when two assailants entered the Inland Regional Center and fired at a gathering with San Bernardino County Department of Health employees.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Family members and friends of Isaac Amanios grieve during a memorial service at St. Minas Church in Colton, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Isaac Amanios, 60-year-old environmental health inspector, fled his war-torn country in search of the American dream. Amanios immigrated to California in January 2000 from Ertiera. On Wednesday, he was among 14 people killed and 21 wounded when two assailants entered the Inland Regional Center and fired at a gathering with San Bernardino County Department of Health employees.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Family members and friends of Isaac Amanios grieve during a memorial services at St. Minas Church in Colton, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Isaac Amanios, 60-year-old environmental health inspector, fled his war-torn country in search of the American dream. Amanios immigrated to California in January 2000 from Ertiera. On Wednesday, he was among 14 people killed and 21 wounded when two assailants entered the Inland Regional Center and fired at a gathering with San Bernardino County Department of Health employees.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Family members and friends of Isaac Amanios grieve during a memorial service at St. Minas Church in Colton, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Isaac Amanios, 60-year-old environmental health inspector, fled his war-torn country in search of the American dream. Amanios immigrated to California in January 2000 from Ertiera. On Wednesday, he was among 14 people killed and 21 wounded when two assailants entered the Inland Regional Center and fired at a gathering with San Bernardino County Department of Health employees.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - DECEMBER 12: Van Thanh Nguyen, center, mother of Tin Nguyen, 31, one of the victims of the deadly San Bernardino terrorist attack, is consoled by family members during her daughter's funeral service at the Good Shepherd Cemetery, in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - DECEMBER 12: Nghi Van Nguyen, grandmother of Tin Nguyen, 31, one of the victims of the deadly San Bernardino terrorist attack, weep at her casket during her funeral service in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - DECEMBER 12: Pallbearers stand guard over the casket of the slain Tin Nguyen, 31, one of the victims of the deadly San Bernardino terrorist attack, at the start of the memorial service at St. Barbara's Catholic Church, in Santa Ana, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2015. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
SANTA ANA, CA - DECEMBER 12: Community members attend the funeral for Tin Nguyen, 31, one of the victims of the deadly San Bernardino terrorist attack, at St. Barbara's Catholic Church, in Santa Ana, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
COLTON, CA - DECEMBER 12: A woman consoles a man during a funeral service for San Bernardino shooting victim Isaac Amanios at the St. Minas Orthodox Church in Colton Saturday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - DECEMBER 12: San Trinh, long time boyfriend of of Tin Nguyen, holds a photo after her coffin was loaded into a hearse at her funeral held at St. Barbaras Catholic Church in Santa Ana, CA on Saturday, December 12, 2015. A heavily armed man and woman opened fire Wednesday on a holiday banquet for his co-workers, killing multiple people and seriously wounding others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, they died in a shootout with police. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - DECEMBER 12: Tram Le, center, cousin of Tin Nguyen, holds a cooler of Tin's during her burial held at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach, CA on Saturday, December 12, 2015. Tin Nguyen was one of 14 that died after a heavily armed man and woman opened fire Wednesday on a holiday banquet for his co-workers, killing multiple people and seriously wounding others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, they died in a shootout with police. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - DECEMBER 12: Family members of Tin Nguyen carry her coffin to a hearse at her funeral held at St. Barbaras Catholic Church in Santa Ana, CA on Saturday, December 12, 2015. A heavily armed man and woman opened fire Wednesday on a holiday banquet for his co-workers, killing multiple people and seriously wounding others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, they died in a shootout with police. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
COLTON, CA - DECEMBER 12: The three children of San Bernardino shooting victim Isaac Amanios speak next to their fathers casket during funeral services at the St. Minas Orthodox Church in Colton Saturday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
COVINA, CALIF. -- THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2015: Attendees weep after seeing a hearse carrying Yvette Velasco's casket, one of the victims of the deadly San Bernardino terrorist attacks, pass by before the funeral service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Covina, Calif., on Dec. 10, 2015. Yvette Velasco is survived by her parents and three sisters. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
California Highway Patrol officers attend a memorial service for Yvette Velasco on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Covina, Calif. Velasco died in a shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The parents Yvette Velasco release a dove of during a memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Covina, Calif. Velasco died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 and injured 21 last Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
A family blows a kiss at the casket of Yvette Velasco during a memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Covina, Calif. Velasco died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The sisters of Yvette Velasco pay their respects at a memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Covina, Calif. Velasco died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 and injured 21 last Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Friends of Yvette Velasco embrace as they arrive for a memorial services, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Covina, Calif. Velasco died in a mass shooting Wednesday, Dec. 2, in San Bernardino, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
COVINA, CA - DECEMBER 10: Family members hug near the casket of 27-year-old Yvette Velasco at the first funeral for victims of the December 2 massacre in San Bernardino on December 10, 2015 in Covina, California. Velasco was attending a holiday luncheon at the Inland Regional Center on December 2 when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik entered the room heavily armed and opened fire, killing 14 people and injuring 21 others. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Family members and friends arrive before a funeral service for Yvette Velasco, killed in the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, at the Forest Lawn in Covina, California on December 10, 2015. Velasco, one of the youngest victims, was at the training and holiday luncheon at the Inland Regional Center when Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, barged in on the gathering and opened fire on his San Bernardino County Department of Public Health coworkers, killing 14 and injuring 22 others in what the FBI is investigating as an 'act of terrorism.' AFP PHOTO/ RINGO CHIU / AFP / RINGO CHIU (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
Family members, friends, and law enforcement members attend the funeral service for Yvette Velasco, killed in the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, at the Forest Lawn in Covina, California on December 10, 2015. Velasco, one of the youngest victims, was at the training and holiday luncheon at the Inland Regional Center when Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, barged in on the gathering and opened fire on his San Bernardino County Department of Public Health coworkers, killing 14 and injuring 22 others in what the FBI is investigating as an 'act of terrorism.' AFP PHOTO/ RINGO CHIU / AFP / RINGO CHIU (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
Family members, friends, and law enforcement members attend the funeral service for Yvette Velasco, killed in the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, at the Forest Lawn in Covina, California on December 10, 2015. Velasco, one of the youngest victims, was at the training and holiday luncheon at the Inland Regional Center when Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, barged in on the gathering and opened fire on his San Bernardino County Department of Public Health coworkers, killing 14 and injuring 22 others in what the FBI is investigating as an 'act of terrorism.' AFP PHOTO/ RINGO CHIU / AFP / RINGO CHIU (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
COVINA, CA - DECEMBER 10: Friends and loved ones pass graveside Christmas decorations as they arrive for funeral services for 27-year-old Yvette Velasco, the first funeral for victims of the December 2 massacre in San Bernardino, on December 10, 2015 in Covina, California. Velasco was attending a holiday luncheon at the Inland Regional Center on December 2 when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik entered the room heavily armed and opened fire, killing 14 people and injuring 21 others. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
The sisters of Yvette Velasco release doves of during a memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Covina, Calif. Velasco died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 and injured 21 last Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The parents Yvette Velasco hug during a memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 in Covina, Calif. Velasco died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 and injured 21 last Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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Chernykh also was charged with fraud and two counts of making material false statements to federal agents.

Syed Raheel Farook and Tatiana Farook, who like her sister is originally from Russia, staged photos of Marquez and Chernykh to make them look like a married couple and created a joint bank account for the two, according to the charging documents. The Farooks were arrested at their home in Corona while Chernykh was arrested in Ontario.

"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," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement.

Marquez was charged on Dec. 18 with conspiring with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012 to support a militant attack in Southern California that was never carried out. He has pleaded not guilty.

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife died in a shootout with police hours after the Dec. 2 SanBernardino attack.

The alleged sham marriage first surfaced in December, when Marquez also was charged with defrauding immigration authorities.

Syed Raheel Farook and Tatiana Farook, who are both U.S. citizens, if convicted of conspiracy each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, while Chernykh if convicted of all charges faces up to 25 years, prosecutors said. They are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday afternoon.

Under U.S. law, Chernykh could also be deported to Russia if convicted.

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