Curtis Allen, who had served in Iraq and returned with PTSD, sank into a hatred of Muslims. He worked at a tire shop in his hometown of Ashland for a while before drifting west to Liberal, where he fell in with a series of militia groups. He also met Wright, who had gone from working at a meatpacking plant to selling mobile homes to house the influx of new immigrants. Last summer, when Allen planted a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN sign in front of his mobile home, his neighbors—most of them Hispanic immigrants—couldn’t help but notice. Allen told them he was angry at Muslims. He allegedly voiced outrage over the Muslim terror attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and was angry that “Crooked Hillary” was “openly running on disarming the American people.” He told another neighbor that the Somalis at the National Beef packing plant in Liberal were “taking all our jobs” and needed to be gotten rid of.What his neighbors didn’t know was that Allen was getting ready to put his words into action.The FBI had a decision to make. Patrick Stein, the unofficial leader of the Crusaders, was scheduled to meet with an undercover agent the day after Allen was arrested. Believing that the agent was a crime boss who had experience building massive bombs using cell phones as remote-control triggers, Stein had arranged the meeting to discuss payment in the form of cash and methamphetamines. But now that Allen was in jail, there was a chance that Stein would be too spooked to show. Should agents wait to see if he stuck to the meet, or arrest him and Wright immediately?Allen’s girlfriend told agents that Allen had been learning to manufacture explosives by studying videos on YouTube. At G&G, she had watched him stir up hydrogen peroxide and fuel tablets to make hexamethylene triperoxide diamine—a common homemade explosive used to make blasting caps to detonate larger bombs. The Crusaders already had the means to detonate a large blast, but not reliably, and apparently only if they were willing to serve as suicide bombers. During an exchange of text messages to set up the meeting, the undercover agent had asked Stein what weapons the group was hoping to acquire. “High explosives,” Stein replied, “automatic weapons RPG shit brother if I could get a hold of a warthog or Apache helicopter I would be after that too.” The Crusaders, it appeared, had more ambition than actual firepower. The FBI decided not to arrest Stein or Wright, gambling that they still believed Allen was being held only for domestic abuse.