New Mexico compound suspects charged in alleged plot

New Mexico compound suspects charged in alleged plot
Copyright 2018 CNN

Five suspects who lived on a New Mexico compound were charged on Wednesday with conspiring to provide material support in preparation for attacks on federal law enforcement officers and members of the military.

A federal grand jury in Albuquerque, New Mexico, returned a superseding indictment charging the suspects with federal offenses related to terrorism, kidnapping and firearms violations. The superseding indictment replaces one returned by a grand jury last year and includes more serious charges.

“The superseding indictment alleges a conspiracy to stage deadly attacks on American soil,” US Attorney John C. Anderson said Thursday in a news release from the US Department of Justice.

The defendants are Jany Leveille, 36, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, Subhanah Wahhaj, 36, and Lucas Morton, 41, according to the Justice Department. Amy Sirignano, the attorney for the defendants, declined to comment when reached by CNN.

“No comment at this time, until we learn more about the new charges. All of our clients will be pleading not guilty at the arraignment next week,” she said in an email.

The five were arrested last summer after law enforcement raided the compound where they lived in rural New Mexico. Authorities also found 11 emaciated children wearing rags and no shoes. The group had apparently been living off the grid for months in the trash-ridden lot. Days later authorities found the decomposed remains of Siraj Wahhaj’s son, 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. The defendants were initially arrested and charged with child abuse by state authorities.

In the superseding indictment, Leveille, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhanah Wahhaj and Morton were also charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Leveille has been accused of being in the United States illegally and of having firearms and ammunition. The other four were previously charged with aiding and abetting Leveille, and conspiring with her.

All five defendants are now charged with “conspiracy from October 2017 to August 2018 to provide material support and resources, including currency, training, weapons, and personnel, knowing and intending that they were to be used in preparation for and in carrying out attacks to kill officers and employees of the United States,” according to the Justice Department.

All of the defendants are in custody awaiting trial, according to the department.

Some of the child abuse charges brought by the state were dismissed by a state judge last year due to a procedural error by the prosecution.