It’s almost unfathomable that foreign terrorists could be setting up camp on American soil plotting and training for jihad. But that’s what the federal government is saying happened on a compound in Taos County in New Mexico.
According to the United State’s Attorney’s Office of the District of New Mexico a federal grand jury has indicted five suspects: Jany Leveille, 35, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, and Lucas Morton, 40, on firearms and conspiracy charges.
U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson and Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division made the announcement Tuesday.
The defendants in the case were all residents of a compound in the small community of Amalia, and were charged with “conspiring knowingly to provide an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States, possession of firearms and ammunition.”
According to the news release, “the indictment also charges Leveille, a Haitian national illegally and unlawfully in the United States, with possession of firearms and ammunition.”
As the release puts it:
“The conspiracy charge alleges that the defendants conspired to provide Leveille, an alien unlawfully in the United States, with firearms and ammunition from at least Nov. 2017 through Aug. 2018. The indictment alleges that, as part of the conspiracy, the defendants transported firearms and ammunition from Georgia to New Mexico in Dec. 2017. The indictment further alleges that, between Dec. 2017 and Aug. 2018, the defendants established a training camp and firing range in Taos County, where they stored firearms and ammunition and engaged in firearms and tactical training as part of their common plan to prepare for violent attacks on government, military, educational, and financial institutions,”
News station KQRE in Albuquerque reported: “The details of the latest indictment now show what may be the dark reason behind the guns and shooting range. “
“The feds say these five people did have sinister plans and weren’t just living a different lifestyle at a remote Taos County compound, like their attorneys claim. They say it was a training camp.”
“A federal indictment states that since December, the group was trying to ‘recruit and train people, including children to engage in jihad.’ according to their report.”
“It goes on to state they wanted to train the army to die as martyrs in violent attacks on government, military, educational, and financial institutions.”
In early August the Amalia compound was the site of a search by the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, Clayton County, Georgia, authorities and the FBI, according to CBS News. Investigators found 11 children starving and living in deplorable conditions.
Check out an early CBS report here:
The indictment announced Tuesday means the law is taking another crack at three of the suspects after cases against them fell apart.
CNN reported on Aug. 29 that child abuse charges against three of the five suspects — Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhannah Wahhaj, and Lucas Morton — were dismissed by a judge because the county prosecutor failed to schedule preliminary hearings within the 10-day time frame required by New Mexico law for defendants held in custody. At the time, prosecutors vowed to bring new charges against all of the suspects in the case.
And the new indictments just nailed them, no matter how the criminal charges are actually adjudicated.
With the new indictment, the five defendants were expected to appear in federal court in Albuquerque on Wednesday for arraignment and also for detention hearings, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.
A conviction on the conspiracy charge could mean a statutory five-year prison prison sentence for each of the five defendants, the release states. The firearms charges against Leveille could mean a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison as well as deportation after the sentence is completed.
While this case has received some national attention in the press, I don’t believe it is enough.
Seventeen years after the the worst terror attack on American soil, we are witnessing the possibility of terrorists committing acts of heinous child abuse and conspiring to commit acts of jihad. There is more to unpack here than meets the eye: Child abuse, weapons charges, conspiracy to commit terror, illegal immigration.
I believe if this were happening in 2001, immediately after the attacks in New York and Washington, this story would have been the only thing on the news and American outrage would have demanded justice.
Maybe we will get that now — even if justice was slightly delayed.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.