Three men face up to life in prison for plotting to blow up a Garden City, Kansas, apartment complex that is home to Muslim immigrants from Somalia.
A federal court convicted all three men Wednesday.
“The defendants in this case acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill people on the basis of their religion and national origin,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday. “That’s not just illegal — it’s immoral and unacceptable and we’re not going to stand for it.”
The Justice Department credits a confidential FBI source with thwarting the attack along with an undercover agent posing as a black market arms dealer.
Prosecutors say the three defendants wanted to park four cars packed with explosives around the apartment complex and set them off, destroying the building and likely killing everyone inside.
Government lawyers played undercover audio tapes of the men talking about their plans. One of the defendants said he hoped killing the Somalis would cause others to attack Muslims.
Their lawyers unsuccessfully tried to convince the court that the plot was just talk and that the three were not serious.