A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against three southwest Kansas militia members accused of planning an attack on a Garden City apartment complex where Muslim immigrants from Somalia live and worship.
The indictment means the trio — Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Stein — won’t have a preliminary hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence to take the case to trial. The proceeding had been scheduled for Oct. 28.
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The indictment charges the men with one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. It was handed down Wednesday, acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said in an e-mailed announcement.
Allen, Wright and Stein are accused of planning to detonate vehicles full of bombs around the complex on Nov. 9, the day after the general election. Officials have said the three conducted surveillance to identify potential targets; stockpiled guns, ammunition and bomb-making materials; and planned to publish a manifesto after the bombing was carried out.
About 120 people live in the complex, which has at least one room that functions as a mosque.
Authorities thwarted the plan and arrested the men in Liberal on Friday. Officials have said the men belong to militia groups called the Crusaders and the Kansas Security Force.
Two of the three men are due in federal court Friday for hearings to determine whether they will remain in jail pending the outcome of their cases. The third is scheduled for his detention hearing Monday.
If convicted, the men face up to life in federal prison.