New Mexico compound suspects plead not guilty to terror charges

Death penalty possible for four of five defendants

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 3/20/19
The five adults arrested at a squalid compound where 11 children were rescued during a law enforcement raid in August 2018 pleaded not guilty to federal terrorism, firearms and kidnapping charges at …

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New Mexico compound suspects plead not guilty to terror charges

Death penalty possible for four of five defendants

Posted

The five adults arrested at a squalid compound in Taos County where 11 children were rescued during a law enforcement raid in August 2018 pleaded not guilty to federal terrorism, firearms and kidnapping charges at an arraignment Thursday (March 21), according to KRQE.

The five defendants – Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38; Subhanah Wahhaj, 36; Jany Leveille, 36; and Lucas Morton, 41 – were charged with the new federal offenses in a grand jury indictment returned on March 13.

The federal government has accused the five of maintaining “a training compound” north of Amalia near the Colorado border, where investigators say they were preparing to carry “out attacks to kill officers and employees of the United States.”

According to Paul Burt, managing editor at KRQE, the five adults pleaded not guilty to the charges at Thursday's arraingment in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.

Four of the five defendants, excluding Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, face the death penalty as a possible consequence if they are convicted of kidnapping resulting in death. The charge relates to the demise of Wahhaj's 3-year-old son, who was found dead at the compound three days after the raid.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a parent with legal custody of  their child cannot be charged with parental kidnapping under federal law.

Burt said the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case, however, has not decided to seek the death penalty in the case at this time.

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