Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests 5 New Mexico compound suspects


The FBI on Friday arrested five former residents of a ramshackle compound in New Mexico on firearms and conspiracy charges as local prosecutors dropped charges in the death of a 3-year-old boy at the property.

Eleven children were taken into state custody in an August 3 raid on the squalid compound, where a half-submerged camper was surrounded by walls of used tires and adobe walls topped with broken glass. He and Leveille, his partner, had been charged with child abuse resulting in death. They faced 11 counts of child abuse and neglect after authorities discovered 11 children living in abject conditions in the compound and the body of a 3-year-old boy.

All five were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and sheriff's deputies "without incident" in Taos on Friday afternoon, a news release said.

The complications in the case and dismissed charges, however, could lead to justice served later this month.

The case involving the group, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40; Jany Leveille, 35; Hujrah Wahhaj, 37; Subhannah Wahhaj, 35; and Lucas Morton, 40, has been subject to wide scrutiny after law enforcement officials raided the compound and said the group were Muslim "extremists", and charged them with almost a dozen counts each of child abuse.

Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos elaborated on New Mexico's due process rules for incarcerated defendants that force prosecutors to quickly present evidence that a crime was committed with probable cause.

Lawyers for the five defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"The feds are looking to get their thumbs into the pie - they may want to get deeper into the case later", said Shattuck, who is not involved in the case.

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One of the notes found at the compound is titled "Phases of a Terrorist Attack" and offers guidelines to "the one-time terrorist" and suggests an "ideal" place to commit a terrorist attack.

The associated criminal complaint charges Leveille, "a Haitian national illegally present in the United States, with being an alien unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition in the District of New Mexico from November 2017 through August 2018", the press release states. Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj were subsequently released from jail.

In filings in federal court on Friday, an FBI agent reiterated accusations drawn from accounts by children at the compound that Leveille expected Abdul-ghani to be resurrected as Jesus and provide instruction to "get rid of" corrupt institutions that involve teachers, law enforcement and banks.

Foul play taking place at the compound is still suspected. Police also seized "at least 11 firearms and a large quantity of ammunition". "He was detained at the site, along with Lucas Morten, Jany Leveille, Hujhrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj".

Reuters reports that prosecutors who failed to bring successful charges against the group on Wednesday were heavily criticized for allowing alleged Muslim extremists walk free.

She ordered that all five must wear ankle monitors and have weekly contact with their lawyers.

"The state alleges that there was a big plan afoot, but the state hasn't shown to my satisfaction, in clear and convincing evidence, what that plan was", Judge Backus said.