The five adults found living in a makeshift New Mexico compound, where 11 emaciated children were discovered in “filthy” conditions last August, have been charged with terrorism, kidnapping, and firearms offenses, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The two men and three woman—Jany Leveille, 36, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, Subhanah Wahhaj, 36, and Lucas Morton, 41— knowingly worked together to provide training and weapons in a plot “to kill officers and employees of the United States,” according to the superseding indictment brought by federal grand jury late Wednesday.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to provide material support in preparation for violent attacks against federal law enforcement officers and members of the military,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in press release. “Advancing beliefs through terror and violence has no place in America, and the National Security Division continues to make protecting against terrorism its top priority.”
Taos County Sheriff's deputies stumbled upon the makeshift compound two hours outside of Santa Fe on Aug. 3, 2018, while conducting a nationwide search for Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, a missing 3-year-old Georgia boy.
Instead, authorities found almost a dozen malnourished children and a large quantity of guns and ammunition inside the Amalia compound just miles from the state border.
The toddler, who was allegedly abducted by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, four months prior, was later found dead on the compound, police confirmed. Prosecutors believe the five adults, who are all Muslim, denied the child anti-seizure medication.
The other children, who ranged in age from 1 to 15, were allegedly being trained to commit school shootings, including weapons training with assault rifles, prosecutors alleged.
Once rescued from the site, all 11 minors were turned over to state welfare workers, authorities confirmed. CNN previously reported that the three women are suspected to be to be the children’s mothers. Prosecutors declined The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Wahhaj, who is also accused of abducting the his son, and Leveille were instrumental in instructing members of the training compound “to be prepared to engage in jihad, to die as martyrs, and to engage in violent acts, including killing Federal Bureau of Investigation government officials and military personnel,” read the indictment.
“The defendants in this case allegedly were preparing for deadly attacks and their targets included law enforcement and military personnel, the very people who are committed to protecting all of us,” said Michael McGarrity, the FBI’s assistant director of its counterterrorism division.
Last September, Leville’s 13-year-old son told the FBI that Wahhaj—whom he described as “his mother’s boyfriend—wanted to “get an army together” to carry out a “jihad” against non-Muslims, according to federal court documents cited by Reuters.
“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,” U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson said in a statement.
The superseding indictment charged the group with “with federal offenses related to terrorism, kidnapping and firearms violations,” and included charges from the original Sept. 11, 2018 indictment. In the previous indictment, the five were charged with “conspiracy relating to the possession of firearms and ammunition by an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States.”
Leville, who is described as the group’s leader, was also previously charged with possessing firearms and ammunition as an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States.
“The superseding indictment alleges a conspiracy to stage deadly attacks on American soil,” Anderson said.
The five suspects are currently in custody awaiting trial, prosecutors said.