|Three dangerous terrorists are off the streets. They wanted to attack a Kansas town because it has immigrants and Muslims.|
Federal prosecutors plan to announce charges related to a planned attack on the Somali immigrant community in Kansas, the AP reports. A law enforcement official said Friday that federal prosecutors in Wichita, Kansas, are announcing the arrests of three men in connection with the plot. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Acting US Attorney Tom Beal and FBI Special Agent Eric Jackson have scheduled a news conference late Friday in Wichita. The Justice Department's National Security Division created a new position a year ago to help coordinate investigations into violent homegrown extremism, like the one that resulted in the three arrests.
Countless people showed up to listen to Garden City Police Michael Utz explain the investigation about the planned attack.
A translator helped Somali community members address their concerns, but they were assured there is no longer any reason to be scared.
"I didn't sleep very well, but today when I saw the police and heard the police, all the people in the community coming here, I was feeling very, very happy," said Frah Farah, a community member. "I will sleep very well tonight."
Garden City Police say community members can help the community safe by reporting any suspicious activity.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 51, and Patrick Stein were all charged with domestic terrorism.
Beall said the three were planning to bomb an apartment complex and mosque in Garden City occupied by a Muslim community of about 120 Somali refugees.
Beall said the men planned to carry out the attack on Nov. 9, the day after Election Day.
He said the men stockpiled a large cache of firearms, and ammunition.
Beall said the men planned to park vehicles full of explosives at all four corners of the Garden City apartment complex. The men said they wanted to "wake people up".
Beall said the men wrote a manifesto, which they wanted published after the bombing.
According to an affidavit, the were a part of a group called the Kansas Security Force and the Crusaders.
"These are militia groups whose members support and espouse sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant extremist beliefs," read the affidavit.
Beall said the men's arrest is a part of an eight month long investigation.
Eyewitness News first learned about the investigation when Liberal police and the FBI shutdown multiple streets in town on Tuesday.
All three men are currently in the Sedgwick County jail on one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.
If convicted, all three could face life in prison.
The Garden City Mayor and Police Chief issued the following statements Friday evening:
"Our community is forever grateful for the protection provided to us every day, but especially today in learning of the thwarted attack on our community. I'm shocked, but at the same time extremely proud of and grateful for the efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement. Today should also serve as a reminder that vigilance should be a common practice by all citizens. 'See something, say something' is a cause we should champion each day even in a rural community like Garden City. I would encourage anyone that sees something suspicious to call 911."
Mayor Chris Law
"The GCPD was aware of the investigation, and has cooperated with the FBI since the onset. We have been assured that all individuals involved are in custody, and that the safety of the community was ensured throughout the investigation. All inquiries about the investigation, arrest, and prosecution are referred to the US Attorney's Office and the FBI."
Chief Michael Utz
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