A federal judge ordered Wednesday the five Wahhaj clan suspects to be held in custody until their trial on firearms and conspiracy charges stemming from a purported plot to train children as school shooters at a remote compound.
The federal indictment filed late Tuesday charged Jany Leveille, a 35-year-old Haitian living illegally in the country, with possession of firearms and ammunition. The other four defendants were charged with conspiring to provide an illegal alien with weapons.
The compound acted as a “training camp and firing range in Taos County” for the extended family training “to prepare for violent attacks on government, military, education, and financial institutions,” according to the U.S. attorney for New Mexico.
The FBI rearrested the defendants Aug. 31, two days after they were released by state judges who chided Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos for missing a deadline requiring the accused to have a hearing within 10 days of their Aug. 3 arrest.
Also found at the squalid compound near the Colorado state line were 11 ill-kempt children and the dead body of a 3-year-old severely disabled boy who allegedly was kidnapped in December by his father, 40-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, in Georgia. Ms. Leveille and Mr. Wahhaj pleaded not guilty Aug. 30 to charges of child abuse resulting in death. Authorities said the boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, failed to receive proper medical care after he was kidnapped, and he suffered seizures and died during a religious ritual aimed at casting out the devil.
In a letter from Mr. Wahhaj to his brother, he told him that Allah would protect him “until He makes you a martyr,” and urged him to take “all your money out of the bank and bring your guns,” according to the FBI affidavit.
The others indicted Tuesday on weapons violations were Hujrah Wahhaj, 37; Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, and Lucas Morton, 40, all of whom appeared Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque. The defendants transported weapons and ammunition from Georgia to New Mexico in December 2017, according to the indictment, before establishing the compound in Amalia, New Mexico, which included a 100-foot tunnel where weapons were stored.
Jany Leveille’s brother Von Chelet Leveille has disputed the allegations that the group had planned school shootings, arguing that they wanted to live off the grid as Muslims living in a non-Muslim society.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is the son of the Brooklyn imam also named Siraj Wahhaj, who appeared as a character witness for some of the defendants in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, including the “blind sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman.