Three members of an anti-Muslim militia on Friday faced charges of conspiring to detonate explosives at an apartment complex where members of a local Somali community reside in the state of Kansas.
“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 U.S. Attorney Tom Beall, according to a Justice Department statement. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”
Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright, both 49, and of Liberal, Kansas, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, of Wright, Kansas, were key members of the Crusaders militia. A confidential source attended group meetings and provided the FBI with information about its activities, the statement said.
A criminal complaint filed by the FBI alleges that the men conducted surveillance to identify potential targets, stockpiled firearms, ammunition and explosive components and planned to issue a manifesto in conjunction with the planned bombing.
The suspects said the attack would be intended to “wake people up”, according to the complaint.
After considering potential targets, the suspects decided to carry out the attack on the Garden City, Kansas, complex that houses a mosque and a large number of members of the Somali community.
They planned to fill four vehicles with explosives and park them at the four corners of the apartment complex to create a large explosion.
On Oct.12, Stein met with an undercover FBI employee in rural Finney County, Kansas. After examining and test firing automatic weapons, Stein took the agent to see the targeted complex. Stein said he would provide ammonium nitrate for the bomb and contribute $200 to $300 for other materials.
The men do not yet have a lawyer but will make their first court appearances Monday. If convicted, they each face life terms in federal prison without parole.