Eleven children were rescued from a makeshift compound in New Mexico last week, and authorities think they have a better idea of what the man arrested with an arsenal of weapons was planning.
According to Fox News, 39-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is facing criminal charges and was being held behind bars without bail as of the latest updates available.
Police found the filthy compound as they searched for a missing 3-year-old boy.
Though Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, who lived in Georgia and had serious medical issues, was not found, investigators did encounter what they now say was a training ground for future school shooters. The boy has been missing since December.
Court documents allege that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj told the toddler’s mother that the boy was “possessed by the devil.”
He reportedly claimed he planned to perform an “exorcism” on Abdul-ghani, who is described as epileptic and unable to walk.
Court documents cited by Fox News indicate Wahhaj built a fortress around the compound from old tires and pallets. When authorities arrived at the location near the Colorado border on Friday, they reported finding a heavily armed group of adults along with the malnourished and abused children.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was “heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30 round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down.”
He was arrested along with another man, Lucas Morton, according to police. Three women, described as the mothers of the 11 children taken from the compound, were also arrested.
In addition to Morton, 35-year-old Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahhaj are expected to face charges including child abuse.
As for the children rescued, investigators expressed dismay at the horrendous conditions under which they were forced to live. The minors ranged in age from 1 to 15 years old.
Hogrefe described it as the “ugliest looking, filthiest” place he had ever seen.
Describing the young victims as reminiscent of “third-world country refugees,” the sheriff said that they were left not only without food and water, but “with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing.”
Three days after the arrests, a child’s body was reportedly found on the property. As of available reports Wednesday afternoon, the remains had not been identified.
According to previous statements by Hogrefe and others, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is believed to be an Islamic extremist.
The sheriff said that Wahhaj and those with him on the compound were “most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”
His father has also earned similar criticism, specifically based on his status as an unindicted co-conspirator in connection with the bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.