Three Kansas men have been accused of plotting attacks targeting an apartment complex home, a mosque and many Muslim immigrants from Somalia, authorities said Friday.
Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Eugene Stein face federal charges of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, the Justice Department announced.
“These charges are based on eight months of investigation by the FBI that is alleged to have taken the investigators deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence,” acting U.S. attorney Tom Beall said in a statement. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”
According to the FBI complaint made public Friday, the investigation was prompted by a paid confidential informant who had attended meetings with a group of individuals calling themselves “the Crusaders” and had heard plans discussed for attacks on Muslims, whom the men called “cockroaches.”
The three men charged Friday were ultimately identified as the architects of the attack plan through a combination of recordings, social media and reporting from the confidential informant, according to the complaint.
The members of the group routinely expressed their hatred for Muslims, Somalis and immigrants. In one call, Stein allegedly said the country could be turned around only with “a bloodbath.” The individuals said they wanted to “wake people up” and inspire other militia groups to act.
The FBI says that as part of this alleged plot, the men conducted surveillance in Garden City, Kan., a small city about 200 miles west of Wichita, and other places in southwestern Kansas.
At one point, Stein was being driven around by the confidential informant, who told the FBI that Stein yelled and cursed at Somali women in traditional garb.
During the period of surveillance, Stein was armed with an assault rifle, extra magazines, a pistol, a ballistic vest and a night vision scope, the complaint said.
The three men had been plotting “to use a weapon of mass destruction” since February, according to the FBI complaint.
But they considered a variety of attacks — acting quickly and violently with a few guns or plotting a more complex plan that would maximize casualties. The simplest plan, a frustrated Stein suggested at a meeting in June, was grabbing a gun and driving to Garden City, where the men would “start kicking in the doors of the Somali apartments, and kill them one by one.”
In June, Stein allegedly met with members of the Crusaders and brought up the Orlando nightclub shooting, carried out by a Florida man who pledged loyalty to the Islamic State during the attack.
The FBI said its informant met in July with the three men charged Friday at a business owned by Wright and where Allen worked. They discussed potential targets, at one point putting pins on them in Google Maps, and “brainstormed various methods of attack, including murder, kidnapping, rape, and arson,” the FBI said.
“We’re going to talk about killing people and going to prison for life,” Allen said at one point, according to the complaint. “Less than sixty days, maybe forty days, until something major happens. We need to be preemptive before something happens.”
“The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim,” Stein responded, according to the documents.
At another point in the conversation, Stein allegedly remarked, “If you’re a Muslim I’m going to enjoy shooting you in the head,” before telling the group: “When we go on operations there’s no leaving anyone behind, even if it’s a one-year old, I’m serious. I guarantee you if I go on a mission those little f—— are going bye bye.”
Allen and Wright are both 49 years old, while Stein is 47. No attorneys were listed for the three men on Friday evening.
The trio are scheduled to appear Monday morning a Wichita courtroom. If convicted, they face life in prison.
On Friday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for officials in law enforcement to offer “stepped-up protection for mosques and other Islamic institutions.”
“We ask our nation’s political leaders, and particularly political candidates, to reject the growing Islamophobia in our nation,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a news release.