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Crime and Courts

Kansas Men Accused In Terrorism Plot To Stay In Jail While Awaiting Trial

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Joe Gratz
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flickr Creative Commons

One of the men charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction on a housing complex in Garden City has waived a detention hearing.

Gavin Wright, a 51-year-old man from Liberal, decided to pass on a detention hearing in the case and instead pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He and two other Kansas men, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen, were arrested by the FBI on charges of planning to detonate truck bombs at a Garden City apartment complex that's home to as many as 120 Somali immigrants, many of them Muslim. Many of the immigrants moved here to take advantage of work at a Tyson Foods meatpacking plant.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment earlier this week. Wright will remain in custody until his trial. Wright's defense attorney said that she and Wright have concerns for his safety if he is released.

The FBI began tracking the alleged conspiracy in February after a member of their militia group, called the Crusaders, offered to be a confidential source. The AP reports Stein's defense attorney says his client was only preparing to defend himself against massive social upheaval and was led on by the source and an undercover FBI agent conducting the investigation.

Stein also pleaded not guilty to the charge. The federal judge in the case said Stein poses a "grave danger" and ordered he be detained while he awaits trial.

Allen will appear in court for his detention trial on Monday.

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Aileen LeBlanc is news director at KMUW. Follow her on Twitter @Aileen_LeBlanc.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.