Five people arrested at a fortified compound north of Taos last summer have been indicted on terrorism and firearms charges by a federal grand jury in Albuquerque.
The defendants — Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40; Jany Leveille, 36; Lucas Morton, 41; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhanah Wahhaj, 36 — already were in federal custody awaiting trial on federal firearms and conspiracy charges.
The new charges filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque accuse the group of working together to provide support to terrorists by providing currency, training and weapons in preparation for violent attacks against officers of the United States.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Leveille and Morton are also charged with conspiring to murder officers or employees of the United States, “specifically, Federal Bureau of Investigation employees, government officials, and military personnel,” according to statement issued Thursday by the United States Department of Justice.
“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,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in the statement.
The Justice Department did not say what beliefs the group is thought to have been attempting to promote, but prosecutors have in the past referred to the group as Islamic extremists.
Amy Sirignano, one of a group of attorneys appointed by the federal Administrative Office of the Courts to represent the defendants, declined comment “until we learn more about the new charges. All of our clients will be pleading not guilty at the arraignment next week.”
The two men and three women were first arrested in August after Taos County sheriff’s deputies raided their compound near the community of Amalia — just south of the Colorado border — in search of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s 3-year-old son, who had been reported missing by his mother in Georgia in 2017.
The five adults were living with 11 children in a crude dwelling consisting of a trailer, wooden frames, tires and tarps, which also included a makeshift shooting range. The missing child’s body was found inside a 150-foot underground tunnel on the compound.
More than a dozen firearms, a bulletproof vest and more than 500 rounds of ammunition were seized from the compound, according to court records.
With the exception of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the defendants also are charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping for allegedly having brought Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s son from Georgia to New Mexico.
Leveille is a citizen of Haiti. The other defendants are United States citizens, Sirignano said.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is the son of Siraj Wahhaj, an imam of a mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y.
According to court documents, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille are a couple, though it is not clear if they are married. Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhanah Wahhaj are Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s sisters, and Lucas Morton is Subhanah Wahhaj’s husband.