It was first learned last year that a group in New Mexico was kidnapping children and raising them in a compound where they were radicalizing them and teaching them to use firearms and bombs.
The group was initially arrested on weapons charges, but federal prosecutors have recently tacked on terrorism and kidnapping charges against the group, the Washington Examiner reports.
“Jany Leveille, 36; Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38; Subhanah Wahhaj, 36; and Lucas Morton, 41; were taken into custody last year after they were found living with 11 children at the compound that was in squalid conditions and had no water or power,” the report continues.
The group’s initial arrest occurred as law enforcement officials pursued a missing child case which traced back to the compound. The remains of the 3-year-old, Ibn Wahhaj’s son, were found alongside seemingly endless guns and rounds of ammunition. It was rumored at the time that the group were planning a terrorist attack or to target law enforcement authorities.
“The superseding indictment alleges a conspiracy to stage deadly attacks on American soil,” U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson said per the report. And:
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said those attacks were being planned against federal law enforcement officers and members of the military.
The indictment alleges the defendants gathers weapons and other supplies at the New Mexico compound, where a firing range was also built to train for a potential attack.
“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,” Demers added, via NPR. “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.”
Here’s even more:
The five defendants were arrested last year after authorities found 11 malnourished children living in squalor in the small community of Amalia, near the New Mexico-Colorado border. They also discovered a large cache of weapons, leading to charges of conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms.
Attorneys for the defendants withheld comment, saying that they are waiting for more information from the government.
“We still don’t have all the documents from the government regarding this case,” said Amy Sirignano, who represents Morton, as quoted by The Associated Press.
Sirignano said in an email sent to the AP on behalf of the defense that their clients would plead not guilty when they are arraigned next week.
Federal prosecutors previously botched the child abuse charges which were brought against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, NPR reports.
The Justice Department statement laid out the allegations related to preparations for attacks against federal officers and employees:
“According to the superseding indictment, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj gathered firearms and ammunition, and all of the defendants transported people, firearms, and ammunition across state lines and constructed a training compound where they stored firearms and ammunition. The superseding indictment further alleges that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Morton constructed and maintained a firing range at the compound where they engaged in firearms and tactical training for other compound occupants, and that Leveille and Morton attempted to recruit others to their cause.
“The superseding indictment also charges Leveille, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and Morton with conspiring to attack and kill officers and employees of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1117. It was a part and an object of the conspiracy that the defendants would kill officers and employees of the United States, specifically, Federal Bureau of Investigation employees, government officials, and military personnel.”