The episode titled ‘Garden City Terror’ of the documentary series ‘FEDS’ delves into a disastrous bombing plot in a small town in Kansas that the FBI discovered with the help of their brave informant before it could affect innocent people. Through the perspective of Special Agents Amy Kuhn and Robin Smith, we get a detailed account of the tense battle that the authorities faced while the informant, Dan Day, put his life on the line to save the lives of thousands.
Who Are Patrick Eugene Stein, Curtis Allen, and Gavin Wright?
In recent times, the three names that resonate with the term anti-Muslims or Islamophobic the most have been Patrick Eugene Stein, Curtis Allen, and Gavin Wright. Coming from different backgrounds, the trio united due to their similar views on Muslims living in the States. Although Patrick never endured a warzone, he had always been a vulnerable man. Given the fact that his mother was an alcoholic while he was growing up, it didn’t take long for him to turn to drugs and alcohol himself. He was a truck driver who didn’t delve into politics much but 9/11 worked as a game changer for him and his political views.
As for Curtis Allen, his bigotry took birth in the mid-2000s, when he was sent to Iraq twice as a member of the Kansas National Guard. Enraged by the enemies’ tactics to kill the American personnel, he returned home to the rumors of Muslim doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs giving out copies of Quran to their patients. When it comes to Gavin Wright, his hate was mainly directed toward the Obama administration for welcoming Muslims into the nation.
The three men came together to become a part of a Kansas militia group with anti-government and anti-immigrant notions. With violence and terrorism on their minds, they tried to influence other members of the group to join them in their deadly plan to eradicate a significant population of Muslims in Garden City. Despite not being able to convince anyone else, they formed their own group and called themselves “The Crusaders.” Over the course of the following months in the summer of 2016, the trio conducted surveillance, gathered weapons, and even created a manifesto scheduled to be published right after their planned attack.
Stein, Allen, and Wright targeted an apartment complex at 312 West Mary Street in Garden City, Kansas, which also consisted of a mosque where many Somalian Muslims resided and worshipped. During their plotting, they held several meetings to strategize the attack and even made and tested explosives. In order to get access to a bomb, Stein met with an undercover FBI agent, Dan Day, posing as an arms dealer. Wired and recording, Day was also taken to the targeted apartment building and told about their plan in detail. As they pieced their plan together, they finalized filling up four vehicles with explosives and parking them at four different corners of the complex, in order to create a massive explosion and kill its residents, on November 9, 2016, the day after the presidential election.
With only about a month until the day of the planned explosion, on October 11, 2016, Allen got involved in a domestic battery incident with his girlfriend who did not hesitate to contact the police and show the authorities a room in their house full of ammunition and other suspicious tools. Following the revelation, Allen was taken into custody while his girlfriend also readily told the FBI about a white powdery substance that was being manufactured at Wright’s place. After connecting the dots, the authorities found out about the trio working on homemade explosives — hexamethylene triperoxide diamine or HMTD.
The authorities then conducted search warrants at different properties and assets of all three members of the group, finding some incriminating items, such as weapons, an HMTD detonator, goggles, explosive material, bomb-making documents, and numerous bags of fertilizer. Charged in the plot to bomb the Garden City apartment complex, Allen was moved to federal custody on October 14, 2916, while the other two members of the Crusaders were arrested.
What Happened to Patrick Eugene Stein, Curtis Allen, and Gavin Wright?
During the four-week trial of Stein, Allen, and Wright, Allen’s girlfriend along with Dan Day testified for the trio’s prosecution. Moreover, the recorded conversations between the Crusaders, talking about their bombing plan to kill Muslims, were also laid in front of the jury. After being convinced by the evidence over the course of the trial, the jury gave a guilty verdict against the three men — Patrick Eugene Stein, 49, Curtis Allen, 50, and Gavin Wright, 49 — in April 2018. All three were convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and to violate the housing rights of the Muslims they intended to kill, while Wright received an additional conviction of lying to the FBI.
After several months, in January 2019, Curtis Allen was given a 25-year prison sentence, Gavin Wright was sentenced to 26 years, and Patrick Stein received a 30-year imprisonment sentence. FBI Special Agent Darrin E. Jones of the Kansas City Division stated, “As law enforcement, we are charged with and have an obligation to take action and protect the public whenever an individual expresses a desire to commit violence. Allowing an individual intent on killing people to proceed without a government response is not an option and will never be an option.”
Jones added, “The dedication and efforts of the FBI Agents and law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly to investigate and build this case was apparent throughout the trial. Today’s verdict emphasizes their commitment to keeping all of our communities safe and from harm.” After the sentencing, the trio appealed to get their convictions overturned, arguing that the FBI trapped them. However, their appeal was rejected by a federal appeals court.