A jury found three Kansas men guilty Wednesday of terrorism in plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees. The was attack stopped by another member of the group after federal authorities were alerted about escalating threats of violence.
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.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the verdicts a significant victory against domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
“The defendants in this case acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill people on the basis of their religion and national origin,” Sessions said in a news release. “That’s not just illegal — it’s immoral and unacceptable, and we’re not going to stand for it.”
Defense attorneys declined to comment following the verdict.
The three men were indicted in October 2016 for plotting the attack in Garden City in southwestern Kansas.
U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister told reporters that the jury’s verdicts represent “a victory for the rule of law and national security.”
Prosecutors have said that a fellow conspirator, Dan Day, became alarmed by some of his colleagues’ threats and agreed to wear a wire as a paid informant. The government’s case featured months of profanity-laced recordings as the men discussed plans and referred to the Somalis as “cockroaches.”
“That confidential source is also to be commended for doing the right thing and the courage he demonstrated,” McAllister said.
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.