Three Kansas men face the possibility of life in prison after a federal jury on Wednesday found them guilty of plotting to blow up an apartment complex housing Somali immigrants, as well as a small mosque.
After deliberating for less than a day, jurors found Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein, and Curtis Allen each guilty of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and violating the Fair Housing Act. Wright was also convicted of lying to investigators.
All three men belonged to a subset of the Kansas Security Force militia known as “The Crusaders.” During their trial, federal prosecutors played recordings of the men describing Somali immigrants as “cockroaches” who “have to go, period.” The government also produced a manifesto allegedly written by the group that targeted both Muslims, and those who rented housing to them.
“If you have anything to do with the sellout of this country, your homes, your businesses, your families are at risk,” the convicted men wrote in the document.
Eventually the the accused trio focused on a heavily Somali housing complex in Garden City, a meatpacking town more than 200 miles west of Wichita. Stein went so far as to openly discuss the type of explosive used by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Alarmed at the increasing threat of violence, fellow “Crusader” Dan Day agreed to become a federal informant. The trio were finally arrested in October 2016.
Defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued that the conversations between the three convicted men were not serious threats, and were accordingly protected under the First Amendment.
Stein, Wright, and Allen face a June 27 sentencing date.