WICHITA, Kan. -- Three members of a Kansas group face federal charges related to an alleged plot to bomb an apartment building filled with Somali immigrants in the western Kansas meatpacking town of Garden City. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas says the suspects claimed the attack would "wake people up."
The charges against the three southwest Kansas men were announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office at a news conference Friday in Wichita. Authorities identified the men as Curtis Allen, 49 and from Liberal, Gavin Wright, 49 and also from Liberal, and Patrick Stein, 47 from Wright.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says the three conspired to detonate a bomb at an apartment complex with about 120 residents. They were arrested Friday after an extensive FBI investigation.
“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,” Beall said. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”
Garden City is home to a Tyson Foods beef slaughterhouse that has drawn a diverse immigrant population to the area.
The case is the latest involving militia groups in the state.
The suspects were members of a group called the Crusaders. After considering targets including pro-Somali churches and public officials, the suspects allegedly decided to target an apartment complex where Somalis lived and maintain an apartment that served as a mosque. They discussed obtaining four vehicles, filling them with explosives and parking them at the four corners of the apartment complex to create a big explosion.
Stein met with a confidential FBI source on Wednesday to look at automatic weapons, and then took the source to the apartment they're accused of targeting. He said he'd provide ammonium nitrate for a bomb and up to $300 for other materials. He also mentioned he was concerned that Allen's girlfriend would reveal their plan to police after Allen was arrested for domestic violence on Tuesday.
The suspects face life in federal prison if convicted.