Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Feds Charge Three in Terror Plot ; Authorities: Kansas Men Planned to Blow Up Mosque

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Feds Charge Three in Terror Plot ; Authorities: Kansas Men Planned to Blow Up Mosque

Article excerpt

WICHITA -- Three men planned to bomb a Garden City apartment complex housing Muslims in a post-election attack, the U.S. Attorney's office said Friday as it unveiled the results of a months- long investigation.

Federal prosecutors said the men were part of a small militia group called the Crusaders and had discussed using four vehicles filled with explosives that would detonate at the four corners of an apartment complex home to Somali Muslims and containing an apartment used as a mosque.

Prosecutors charged Curtis Allen, 49, and Gavin Wright, 49, both of Liberal, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, of Wright, with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

"Many Kansans may find it as startling as I have that such things could happen here," acting U.S. Attorney for Kansas Tom Beall said at a news conference in Wichita.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been conducting a domestic terrorism investigation of the Crusaders since February, a criminal complaint against the men said. The group, operating in southwest Kansas, espouses sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti- Muslim and anti-immigrant beliefs, the complaint said.

"These individuals had desire, the means and the capability and were committed to carrying out this act of domestic terrorism," Eric Jackson, the FBI special agent in charge, said.

Beall and Jackson declined to say whether there are other, uncharged suspects in the case. They indicated the investigation may be continuing but emphasized that the particular plot had been disrupted.

Beall said the men had prepared a manifesto and that one of them said the bombing would "wake people up." The authorities indicated the men were waiting until after the election to carry out their plot, and Jackson said the reason was that they didn't want to impact the election.

Religion and immigration has played a part in the campaign season. GOP nominee Donald Trump, in particular, has focused on immigration and specifically Muslim immigration, and called last year for a temporary halt to Muslim immigration in the U.S.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called for protection of Islamic institutions around the country in the wake of revelations about the alleged Kansas plot. …

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