Three white domestic terrorists were sentenced Friday to at least 25 years each in federal prison for plotting to kill Somali-American Muslim immigrants in Kansas.
They received sentences of 25, 26 and 30 years on charges of conspiring to detonate a bomb at an apartment complex in Garden City where Muslim refugees lived, U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a statement.
“The Department of Justice works every day to thwart terrorist threats to the United States. The defendants in this case acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill innocent people on the basis of their religion and national origin. That’s not just illegal—it’s morally repugnant. Today’s sentence is a significant victory against hate crimes and domestic terrorism,” acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker stated.
The three men were found guilty in April on one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy to violate the housing rights of their intended victims.
Authorities identified the men as Patrick Eugene Stein, 49, of Wright, Kansas, Curtis Allen, 51, of Liberal, Kansas, and Gavin Wright, 53, of Beaver County, Oklahoma. They chose the apartment complex in Garden City, a city of 26,000, partly because it contained a mosque, federal officials stated.
Ifrah Farah, a member of the city’s Somali community, said after the sentencing that the immigrants came to Garden City to work in the meatpacking industry and do not intend to harm anyone, KWCH-TV.
“Please, we need peace and love,” Farah said. “Because we came here for better lives. We are refugees. We live here. We are not bad people. We love everybody.”
Since 9/11, some of the most horrific acts of terrorism in the United States have been committed by American citizens. However, when the attacker is not brown, there is usually hesitation to call them a terrorist. From the Aurora movie shooting in 2012 to the Las Vegas shooter in 2017, terrorism is alive and well in this country — and the culprits rightfully should be called domestic terrorists.
During the trial, prosecutors said the men began plotting an attack after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida, the news outlet said.
Federal authorities, with the assistance of an informer, conducted an eight-month investigation. The three defendants held several meetings to discuss their plan and took “significant steps — including making and testing explosives,” according to the prosecutor.