Defendants in New Mexico compound case hit with new charges
By Andrew Hay
TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) – Five people taken into custody in August at a New Mexico compound where 11 children were found ragged and starving have been charged with a conspiracy to carry out attacks on U.S. targets, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.The superseding indictment adds to firearms offenses already filed against the defendants in U.S. District Court following a raid at the makeshift training camp where a 3-year-old boy was found buried.
“The superseding indictment alleges a conspiracy to stage deadly attacks on American soil,” U.S. Attorney John Anderson said in a written statement.
“These allegations remind us of the dangers of terrorism that continue to confront our nation, and the allegation concerning the death of a young child only underscores the importance of prompt and effective intervention by law enforcement,” Anderson said.
Federal public defender Kari Converse, a lead attorney for the defendants in the case, said she was out of state on Thursday and could not comment on the superseding indictment until she had studied it more thoroughly.
The indictment, handed down by a federal court grand jury in Albuquerque, charges Jany Leveille, 36, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, Subhanah Wahhaj, 36, and Lucas Morton, 41, with federal offenses related to terrorism, kidnapping and firearms violations.
The five suspects have been jailed since the raid on their high-desert compound north of Taos, where they had established a communal living arrangement with their children.
The two men and three women are all related as siblings or by marriage. Three are the adult children of a New York City Muslim cleric who is himself the biological grandfather of nine of the children involved.
Prosecutors have said the 3-year-old boy found buried at the camp, the son of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, died in a ritual to “cast out demonic spirits,” but his extended family believed he would “return as Jesus” to identify corrupt targets for them to attack.
The boy stopped breathing, lost consciousness and died during a ceremony in which his father put his hand on the boy’s head and recited verses from the Koran, Taylor testified, citing interviews with Ibn Wahhaj’s 15-year-old and 13-year-old sons.
The five initially faced state child abuse charges, but that case was dismissed when prosecutors missed a procedural deadline.
Prosecutors said in court documents filed in September that the defendants were giving firearms instruction to the children “in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school shootings.
(Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Writing and additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by by David Gregorio and Peter Cooney)
More Top Stories
The Kremlin said on Sunday it hopes a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump takes place, but that it …read more
U.S. Representative Justin Amash, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, on Saturday became the first Republican lawmaker to say the president has engaged in …read more
Government figures show that nearly half of all federal crimes in the United States are perpetrated by foreigners who are not American citizensread more
2016 Police Report: Cocaine Pipe Found in Car Rented by Hunter Biden, Authorities Declined to Prosecute
The case was reviewed by the city prosecutor’s office and YCAO and both declined chargesread more
Bruce Ohr and State Department Official Discuss Targeting Trumpread more
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday will hold a presidential-style rally intended to make his march toward becoming the Democrat to take on …read more