Three men from the southwest Kansas area were convicted on charges of conspiring to detonate a bomb at an apartment complex in Garden City where Muslim immigrants lived.
After a four-week trial, a federal jury convicted Patrick Eugene Stein, 49, of Wright, Kansas, Curtis Allen, 50, of Liberal, Kansas, and Gavin Wright, 49, of Beaver County, Okla., 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 defendants’ plot to blow up the apartment complex in an effort to kill the Somali Muslim immigrants who lived there. The jury also convicted defendant Wright of lying to the FBI.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that the defendants plotted, over the course of several months, to attack an apartment complex that contained a mosque at 312 W. Mary Street 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, defendant 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 took the agent to see the apartment building that the defendants were planning to destroy.
At their sentencing hearing on June 27, the defendants will face up to life in federal prison.
“The Department of Justice is resolute every day in fighting terrorist threats to the United States, both foreign and domestic,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The defendants in this case acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill people on the basis of their religion and national origin. That’s not just illegal—it’s immoral and unacceptable, and we’re not going to stand for it. Today’s verdict is a significant victory against domestic terrorism and hate crimes, and I want to thank everyone who helped bring the defendants to justice—the dedicated professionals with our National Security and Civil Rights Divisions, our United States Attorney’s office in Kansas, the FBI, and our state and local partners. Law enforcement saved lives in this case.”