GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Three Kansas militia members driven by a hatred for Muslims were charged with plotting to blow up an apartment building that is home to a mosque and dozens of Somali immigrants.
The stunning terrorist attack was only foiled as the result of a months-long investigation by the FBI who kept tabs as the men stockpiled automatic weapons, tons of ammunition and the material for deadly homemade bombs.
“These charges are based on eight months of investigation by the FBI that is alleged to have taken the investigators deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Beall. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”
Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright, both 49 and from Liberal, Kansas, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, of Wright, Kansas, were charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the planned attack on the housing complex in Garden City, Kansas.
Authorities said the men planned to launch their attack the day after Election Day and were putting together a manifesto in order to “wake people up.”
Federal investigators said the men identified themselves as “the Crusaders,” a sovereign citizen group that holds strongly anti-government, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim beliefs and was part of a larger militia group known as the “Kansas Security Force.”. The men were caught on tapes recorded by a paid government informant regularly calling Somalis “cockroaches.”
They also discussed how to build bombs similar to that detonated by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City in 1995, that destroyed a federal office building and killed 168 people.
Garden City is home to a Tyson Foods beef slaughterhouse and has become a magnet for immigrants seeking work. There are an estimated 500 to 600 Somalis living in the area.
For several months, the man allegedly scouted out locations in southwest Kansas near where they lived to carry out an attack that would cause the maximum damage. Among the ideas considered were engaging in a shooting rampage at a place where Muslims gathered, attacking churches that helped refugees and firing rocket-propelled grenades into an apartment complex where many Somalis live.
“If you’re a Muslim I’m going to enjoy shooting you in the head,” Stein was recorded saying. “When we go on operations there’s no leaving anyone behind, even if it’s a one-year old, I’m serious. I guarantee if I go on a mission those little fuckers are going bye-bye.”
For several months, the group attempted to gather materials to construct powerful bombs and in August, settled on detonating four bombs at each of the corners of the apartment building where hundreds of Somali immigrants lived and where a mosque was located.
Authorities moved to bust up the plot after Allen’s girlfriend called Liberal, Kansas police on Oct. 11 to report domestic abuse and showed them a large stockpile of ammunition and weapons-making equipment he had gathered. When police later took Allen into custody, he allegedly had a large amount of ammunition, magazines for automatic weapons and tools for making silencers in his car. They also discovered bomb-making residue at his home.
The next day, Stein allegedly told an undercover FBI agent he was attempting to buy the explosive compound ammonium nitrate, from that Allen’s girlfriend “needs to disappear” because he believed she was giving information to the authorities.
Stein and Wright were arrested on Oct. 14. If convicted, the men face a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.