KANSAS–Three men from southwest Kansas were sentenced to 25, 26 and 30 years imprisonment on charges of conspiring to detonate a bomb at an apartment complex in Garden City where Muslim immigrants lived, federal authorities said.
On April 18, 2018 after a five-week trial, a federal jury convicted Patrick Eugene Stein, 49, of Wright, Kansas, Curtis Allen, 51, of Liberal, Kansas, and Gavin Wright, 53, of Beaver County, Oklahoma, on one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy to violate the housing rights of their intended victims. Both conspiracies stemmed from the men’s plot to blow up the apartment complex in an effort to kill the Somali Muslim immigrants who lived there. The jury also convicted Wright of lying to the FBI in matter involving domestic terrorism.
“The Department of Justice works every day to thwart terrorist threats to the United States,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. “The defendants in this case acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill innocent people on the basis of their religion and national origin. That’s not just illegal—it’s morally repugnant.”
“These defendants planned to ruthlessly bomb an apartment complex and kill innocent people, simply because of who they are and how they worship,” said FBI Director Chris Wray. “Today, together with our law enforcement partners, we reaffirm our commitment to protecting all people in our communities from those who seek to terrorize and do harm.”
Evidence presented at trial revealed that the defendants plotted, over the course of several months, to attack an apartment complex that contained a mosque in Garden City, Kansas, where Muslim immigrants from Somalia lived and worshipped. Evidence during trial established that the defendants held numerous meetings to plan the attack and took significant steps – including making and testing explosives – toward implementing their plan. During an eight-month-long FBI investigation, a confidential source, whom the government credited for thwarting the attack and saving the lives of innocent victims, recorded numerous conversations during which the defendants discussed and refined their plan. As the plan solidified, the defendants discussed obtaining four vehicles, filling them with explosives, and parking them at the four corners of the apartment complex to create an explosion that would be sure to level the building and kill its occupants.
During the course of the investigation, Stein also met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a black market arms dealer, in an effort to obtain a bomb. During one of the meetings, Stein drove with the agent to see the apartment building that the defendants were planning to destroy.
“Some people have described this prosecution as a civil rights case, a domestic terrorism case or even a violent crime case,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister of the District of Kansas. “However you look at it, it is a violation of everything we stand for in America, equal rights, public safety and respect for law.”
Curtis Allen was sentenced to 25 years. Gavin Wright was sentenced to 26 years. Patrick Stein was sentenced to 30 years.