by Tobias Salinger
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, October 14, 2016, 8:42 PM
Three Kansas men from a militia cell called “the Crusaders” plotted to bomb a mosque and apartment complex home to Somali immigrants, the feds said.
Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47, were charged Friday with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, according to the Department of Justice’s national security division. The Crusaders call Muslims "cockroaches," and they had discussed attacks brutal attacks on Muslims for months, federal prosecutors said.
FBI agents working on tips from an undercover informant said the three men planned to blow up four car bombs at the Garden City apartments. Allen, Wright and Stein hoped the attack on the 120-resident complex would “wake people up,” the feds said.
The arrests followed an eight-month investigation that took the agents “deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence,” said acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”
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The informant alerted the FBI after attending meetings of the Crusaders, according to investigators. Allen, Wright and Stein had stockpiled guns, ammunition and explosive components, prosecutors said. They also spied on possible targets and planned to issue a manifesto, according to the feds.
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(L-R) Gavin Wright, 49, Curtis Allen, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47, face charges of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. (AP)
They decided on the apartment complex in Garden City, a meatpacking town of 26,000 people in southwestern Kansas. Many Somali refugees who work at a Tyson Foods beef slaughterhouse live there, and the complex includes a mosque where they worship together.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on law enforcement agencies to enhance their protections for mosques and other Muslim institutions in light of the Kansas plot. The civil rights organization also cited reports of threats on an Islamic center in Michigan and graffiti painted on a New Jersey mosque.
“We ask our nation’s political leaders, and particularly political candidates, to reject the growing Islamophobia in our nation,” the group’s national executive director, Nihad Awad, said in a statement.
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Stein had recently driven by the complex with the paid informant, describing it as "full of g-----n cockroaches," according to the criminal complaint. He often carried out so-called "surveillance" of the area’s Muslims, investigators said Stein told the informant back when the investigation began in February.
Photo: Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall announced the arrests at a news conference Friday afternoon in Wichita, Kan. (Bo Rader/AP)
"F---ing raghead b-----s!" he shouted out of the informant’s car at a group of Somali women wearing traditional garb, the complaint showed. All three men "have routinely expressed a hatred for Muslims, individuals of Somali descent, and immigrants," according to the complaint.
"They chose the target location based on their hatred of these groups, their perception that these groups represent a threat to American society, a desire to inspire other militia groups, and a desire to ’wake people up,’" the complaint said.
Allen had offered his own idea during a conference call in May for what he thought the Crusaders should do to terrorize the Muslim community, according to the charging document.
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“We need to get some signs made up…hundreds of them, kind of like the redneck deal, ‘here’s your sign’ and just put right there on it: I SUPPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, I GO AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION ON A DAILY BASIS, I DO NOT HAVE ANY CARE FOR MY FELLOW CITIZENS IN THE STATE OR IN THE TOWN THAT I REPRESENT…and then for every one of them that we blow the top of their head off we just put that around their neck,” he told his conspirators, the complaint showed.
Photo: FBI agents said the three conspirators hoped to blow up four car bombs on each of the four corners of this apartment complex home to Somali immigrants in Garden City. (KWCH-TV)
Allen, Wright, Stein and the informant met multiple times at Wright’s business, the G&G Mobile Home Center in Liberal. At one meeting in July, he used Google Maps to drop pins labeled "cockroaches" on locations of potential victims, according to the complaint.
They talked about attacking targets such as city or county meetings, landlords who rent to Muslim refugees, organizations that assist Muslim refugees, a mall frequented by Muslims and Garden City’s African Community Center, investigators said. They decided on the W. Mary St. apartment complex in August, according to the complaint.
Yet police in Liberal arrested Allen on Tuesday night after his girlfriend said he beat her, the charging documents showed. His car had ammo for an AR-15, an AK-47 and a Glock handgun, according to investigators.
Liberal police later found nearly a metric ton of ammo at Allen’s house, investigators said. FBI agents who searched G&G, where Allen worked for Wright, said they uncovered a detonator believed to be a homemade explosive and other bomb components.
The explosive, hexamethylene triperoxide diamine or HMTD, showed up in two of the bombs that exploded last month in New York in New Jersey, Reuters reported.
"This is known as a primary explosive, very sensitive to heat, shock and friction," the complaint said. "This primary explosive presents a significant public safety hazard and is usually used to create homemade blasting caps to initiate a larger explosive."
Federal agents took custody of all three of them Friday morning. Allen, Wright and Stein face up to life in federal prison without parole if they’re convicted.
With News Wire Services.