(Reuters) – Three men convicted of a 2016 plot to bomb an apartment complex in Kansas that is home to Somali immigrants and their mosque were due to be sentenced in federal court on Friday.
The trio, described by prosecutors as members of a right-wing militia group, were found guilty in April of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiring to violate the civil rights of their intended victims.
The men plotted to detonate explosive-laden vehicles at the four corners of the complex in Garden City, a town of about 27,000 people in southwest Kansas, with the aim of leveling the building and killing its occupants, prosecutors said.
Each of the defendants – Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright – faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the weapon of mass destruction charge and up to 10 years behind bars for the civil rights violation.
Wright was also found guilty of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the plot.
They are due to be sentenced at the hearing in Wichita, Kansas, presided over by U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren.
Officials investigated the plot for several months as the men stockpiled guns and explosives in preparation for attacking the apartment complex, where about 120 Somali immigrants lived and had set up a small mosque, according to authorities.
Prosecutors said the men wanted to send a message to Somali immigrants that they were not welcome in the United States.
According to authorities, the three were members of a militia called the Kansas Security Force and formed a splinter group, the Crusaders. They tried unsuccessfully to recruit others to join their plot, prosecutors said, and it was one of those men who tipped off the FBI to the plan.
(Reporting by Alice Mannette in Wichita, Kansas; Writing by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)