WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A federal jury on Wednesday found three men guilty of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees in Kansas.
Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright, and Curtis Allen were convicted of one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy against civil rights. Wright was convicted of a charge of lying to the FBI.
The three men were indicted in October 2016 for plotting an attack for the day after the presidential election in the meatpacking town of Garden City, about 220 miles (350 kilometers) west of Wichita.
Prosecutors have said that a fellow militia member, Dan Day, tipped off federal authorities after becoming alarmed by the escalating talk of violence and later agreed to wear a wire as a paid informant. The government’s case featured months of profanity-laced recordings in which militia members discussed plans and referred to the Somalis as "cockroaches."
Wright is captured in one recording saying he hoped an attack on the Somalis would "wake people up" and inspire others to take similar action against Muslims.
The government argued that the men formed a splinter group of the militia Kansas Security Force that came to be known as "the Crusaders." The testimony and recordings indicate the men tried to recruit other members of the Kansas Security Force to join them.
According to prosecutors, Stein was recorded discussing the type of fuel and fertilizer bomb that Timothy McVeigh used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people. Stein was arrested when he delivered 300 pounds (135 kilograms) of fertilizer to undercover FBI agents to make explosives.
Attorneys for the defense said the FBI set up the men with a paid informant and all the talk about violence wasn’t serious. They said the men had a right to free speech and association under the U.S. Constitution.
Prosecutors argued the plot was more than just words, telling jurors that the men also manufactured homemade explosives and tested them.
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