A member of the Ku Klux Klan who lives in New York was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for planning to kill Muslims with an x-ray gun, the Department of Justice said Monday.
Glendon Scott Crawford, 52, of Galway, is the first individual to be found guilty in violation of the “dirty bomb” statute passed by Congress in 2004 after attempting to build a "weapon of mass destruction" and target Muslim Americans with "lethal doses of radiation," the DOJ said.
Crawford is an "extremist who planned to use a radiological dispersal device to target unsuspecting Muslim Americans with lethal doses of radiation,” Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord said.
Crawford and a co-conspirator, Eric Feight, approached senior members of the KKK, as well as Jewish organizations, for funding to build the radiation device that was eventually meant to be deployed near mosques, Islamic community centers and schools to hit "medical waste," a term the two used for Muslims and other targets. Other potential targets included the White House and the New York Governor's mansion.
For two years the men tried to build the device, which Crawford called "Hiroshima on a light switch."
"His goal was to acquire and modify an industrial-grade x-ray radiation device and use it to cause death or injury by exposing people to lethal doses of ionizing radiation," the DOJ statement read.
Crawford and Feight believed they bought such a device from businessmen associated with the KKK. The businessmen were undercover FBI agents who part of a Joint Terrorism Task Force that included the Department of Homeland Security, the Albany Police Department, the Troy Police Department in New York and the New York City Police Department.
Crawford was convicted on three counts in August, 2015 for attempting to produce and use a radiological dispersal device, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and for distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction. (Feight was sentenced to eight years in prison for providing material support to terrorists in December 2015.)
“This case shows both the dangers we face from extremist views, and our resolve to stop those who plan to act on those views," US Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said.
"Crawford planned to kill Muslims on account of their religion and other people whose political and social beliefs he disagreed with, including government officials."
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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