Three found guilty in plot to bomb Somali immigrants' apartment complex

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Three men charged with plotting to bomb an apartment complex in western Kansas, where Muslim immigrants from Somalia lived and had a mosque, wanted to kill as many as possible and send a message they were not welcome in the USA, a federal prosecutor said at their trial on April 17.

A federal jury in Wichita, Kansas, convicted Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen on charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the verdict "a significant victory against domestic terrorism and hate crimes". "That's not just illegal - it's immoral and unacceptable, and we're not going to stand for it".

All three men face life in prison.

Defense attorneys argued the discussions weren't plans, just talk protected by the First Amendment.

They schemed to destroy the complex in Garden City, a place with 27,000 inhabitants about 210 miles west of Wichita that was once held up as a beacon for ethnic diversity in the rural midwest because of an influx of immigrants working at a meatpacking plant.

US attorney for Kansas Stephen McAllister commented on the guilty verdicts handed down to Allen, Stein and Wright, saying that "Today's verdicts are a victory for the rule of law and national security".

Prosecutors have said that a fellow militia member, Dan Day, became alarmed by some of his colleagues' threats and agreed to wear a wire as a paid informant.

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The government's case featured months of profanity-laced recordings.

The defendants, all white men, pleaded not guilty after they were indicted in October 2016.

"That confidential source is also to be commended for doing the right thing and the courage he demonstrated", said US Attorney Stephen McAllister. Wright went further, offering his hope that their attack would inspire similarly Islamophobic citizens to take up weapons 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".

As Fox News reported, Stein specifically referenced the type of bomb materials used in the deadly 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City.

The FBI arrested Stein when he delivered 300 lbs of fertilizer, which he planned to use to make explosives, to undercover FBI agents.

Allen's defence attorney, Melody Brannon, said Tuesday the informant who aided the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the one who provided all the maps and aerial views of the apartment complex, and even encouraged the use of bombs. The FBI received a tip on the men's plan, and Stein would eventually meet with an undercover agent trying to obtain a bomb, even bringing the agent to the apartment complex they meant to attack.

Prosecutors told jurors that the defendants manufactured homemade explosives and tested them.

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