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POST TIME: 2 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
New Mexico compound gang arrested by FBI
BBC

New Mexico compound 
gang arrested by FBI

Five adults at a desert compound in New Mexico have been arrested by the FBI weeks after a judge received death threats for granting them bail, reports BBC. The two men and three women, residents at a site where 11 starving children and the buried remains of a toddler were found, face conspiracy charges.

Child abuse charges against the five were dismissed after a 10-day limit for a hearing was missed by prosecutors. They will now remain in custody pending a hearing in federal court on Tuesday. The charges include unlawful possession of firearms by an illegal immigrant, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and aiding and abetting in the committing of an offence, the FBI said in a statement on Friday.

The accused had been under FBI drone surveillance at their remote compound north of Taos since May, according to Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe. Police raided the compound near Amalia in early August in the search for a missing three-year-old boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.

It was then that they discovered the remains of a young boy along with 11 malnourished children, who were reportedly being held at the site. Police also seized "at least 11 firearms and a large quantity of ammunition".

The boy's father, Siraj Wahhaj, is suspected of abducting him from his Georgia home in December and was one of the five arrested.

He was detained at the site, along with Lucas Morten, Jany Leveille, Hujhrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj.

On 13 August, Judge Sarah Backus granted bail to the five defendants after she said the prosecution had failed to convince her that they were a threat to the community.

The prosecution argued that all five adults were dangerous and claimed they had trained the children to use weapons and prepare to carry out school shootings.

"The state alleges that there was a big plan afoot, but the state hasn't shown to my satisfaction, in clear and convincing evidence, what that plan was," Judge Backus said.