Three men convicted in Kansas plot to bomb Muslims
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Three men convicted in Kansas plot to bomb Muslims

Trio recorded planning attack on Somali refugees in the US, calling them ‘cockroaches’ and hoping to inspire similar acts

This February 3, 2017 photograph show an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas  where 120 Somali immigrants live. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
This February 3, 2017 photograph show an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas where 120 Somali immigrants live. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

WICHITA, Kansas, United States (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. Sentencing is set for June 27.

The three men were indicted in October 2016 for plotting an attack for the day after the US 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.”

This combination of October 14, 2016, file booking photos provided by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office in Wichita, Kansas, United States, shows from left, Patrick Stein, Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright, three members of a Kansas militia group who were charged with plotting to bomb an apartment building filled with Somali immigrants in Garden City, Kansas. (Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

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 US 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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