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Residents of New Mexico compound indicted on federal charges

FILE - This Aug. 10, 2018, file photo shows a ramshackle compound in the desert area of Amalia, N.M. Five former residents of the compound in northern New Mexico where a 3-year-old boy's body was found last month are scheduled to appear in federal court on firearms-related charges. A hearing Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 focuses on allegations against Jany Leveille of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition linked to her unlawful immigration status and conspiracy accusations against the four other defendants. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Five residents of a ramshackle desert compound were indicted Tuesday on firearms and conspiracy charges. Federal prosecutors in New Mexico say the group was preparing for violent attacks on government, military, educational and financial institutions.

Jany Leveille, 35; Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40; Hujrah Wahhaj, 37; Subhanah Wahhaj, 35; and Lucas Morton, 40, are scheduled to appear Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque for arraignment and detention hearings, where public defenders are expected to be appointed to represent them.

The grand jury indictment alleges they transported firearms and ammunition from Georgia to New Mexico in December 2017.

Prosecutors said the five, all members of an extended family, established a training camp and firing range in Amalia, New Mexico, where they stored firearms and ammunition and engaged in firearms and tactical training “as part of their common plan to prepare for violent attacks.”

Eleven children were removed from the squalid compound near the Colorado border during an Aug. 3 raid. Taos County authorities returned three days later and recovered the body of a severely disabled 3-year-old boy who they say was kidnapped by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, in Georgia.

Leveille is a native of Haiti and the mother of six children taken into state custody during the compound raid, according to authorities who said she has been in the U.S. for more than 20 years after overstaying her non-immigrant visitor visa.

The conspiracy charge alleges the four others conspired to provide Leveille with firearms and ammunition from at least November 2017.

Prosecutors have presented evidence that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj provided some of the children with firearms training, including tactical skills such as speed-loading guns and firing while in motion.

Along with rifles, handguns and ammunition, authorities said they found books on being effective in combat and building untraceable assault-style rifles during the compound raid.

Von Chelet Leveille has said his sister and the rest of the group at the compound were misunderstood and he disputed allegations that the children were being taught to commit school shootings.

He said the two older children asked to be taught to shoot, and that the family’s use of firearms was legal and innocent. He also said the group went to the desert because they no longer wanted to live as American Muslims in a society mostly populated by non-Muslims.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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