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Child Abuse Charges Against 3 Suspects in New Mexico Extremist Compound Case Dismissed

Child Abuse Charges Against 3 Suspects in New Mexico Extremist Compound Case Dismissed

Looks like a procedural error

Wednesday, a judge dismissed child abuse charges levied against three of the five suspects arrested when a remote compound in New Mexico was raided by authorities.

The dismissal doesn’t appear (based on the latest reporting) to be intentional but was required due to a procedural error.


A New Mexico judge has ruled that child abuse charges against three people arrested at a desert compound will be dismissed. Some of the charges against two others in the case were also thrown out.

Taos County District Judge Emilio Chavez ruled in a hearing Wednesday to dismiss child abuse charges against Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhannah Wahhaj, and Lucas Morten saying they didn’t have a preliminary hearing in the 10-day time frame required by New Mexico State law for defendants held in custody, according to the official.

How the prosecutor allowed this is beyond me. Particularly as the details of clear abuse that have been reported are horrifying:

Prosecutors could still try to pursue charges by seeking an indictment from a grand jury. Prosecutors offered no immediate indications Wednesday as to how they will proceed.

Another hearing that happened later Wednesday dealt with new charges filed against the dead boy’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and his partner, Jany Leveille. They are accused of child abuse resulting in death.

The judge dismissed some of the charges against the two men.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, is accused of taking his son, Abdul-Ghani, from his Clayton County home and bringing him to the compound.

The surviving children on the compound told investigators about religious rituals performed on Abdul-Ghani, saying the boy would cry with his eyes rolling back into his head as “jinn” and “shayateens,” or spirits and demons, were cast out of him, sometimes for up to five hours a day.

After the child’s death, they said regular washing of his body would be used as a “tool of punishments against one of the children, if he disobeyed the requests of the adults or showed disrespect.”

Eleven children were removed from the compound, all malnourished, and remanded to state custody. The remains of a missing three-year-old boy were later discovered at the compound.

The whole ordeal is…strange. Shortly after the compound was raided, authorities destroyed it.

For our previous coverage of the story, see here:

New Mexico: Judge Releases 5 Suspects From Muslim Extremist Compound Who Were Allegedly Training Children for School Shootings

New Mexico: Muslim Extremist Compound Raided, Children Were Reportedly Trained for School Shootings


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The prosecutors need to pay some price for this incompetence. As far as these miscreants, let them pay via “frontier justice” of some kind. We can only hope.

    Tom Servo in reply to MAJack. | August 29, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve been trying to read though some source material, and it sounds to me like the prosecutors really screwed up – apparently they thought that a 60 day time limit was in effect, since the accused were ordered to be released, but they didn’t stay in touch and didn’t realize that they never actually got released, so the 10 limit was in effect, and then the first Judge recused herself.

    And I got the feeling that the new judge in the case is saying “listen, if I let this go ahead with all the procedural mistakes you guys have made, any conviction is gonna get tossed out on appeal, so how about we start all of this from scratch.” Which is what appears to be taking place now.

Procedural nuance is a way to entrap people, not to absolve them. Perhaps they need more time to reconcile what they have wrought.

New Mexico is a D state. No doubt in my mind that the word was passed down to reduce or eliminate most charges so as not to inflame “anti-Muslim” passions. Prosecutors found this the best way to achieve that objective. Anyone who thinks this is just a procedural slip up is fooling themselves.

    I am willing to be convinced it was an OOPS.
    This level of OOPS requires either firing a subordinate that didn’t do their job while claiming to do so, or significant sanctions (or firing) against the prosecutor that couldn’t be bothered.
    Convinced me.

The 10 day screw-up cannot be an accident. It is too basic. Are the feds involved in this case?

    As the first Judge recused themselves could it have been the DOJ’s CRS?

    Congressionally authorized to place their thumb on the scales of Justice up to and including including hand picking Judges and juries so this is well within their powers.

Or it’s not a screw-up. Perhaps they don’t have the evidence they’d need to indict these people, so rather than come into court and admit it they decided to just hold them for 10 days anyway and then let their arrests quietly lapse.

Destroying the compound seems suspiciously like Waco.

    puhiawa in reply to Milhouse. | August 29, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Indeed it does. In this case it may be the FBI is again calling the shots and covering up something that reflects on their incompetence or worse.
    This article doesn’t make clear whether the first dismissal for want of a PC hearing was with prejudice or not.

      Milhouse in reply to puhiawa. | August 30, 2018 at 1:17 am

      It couldn’t be with prejudice. Jeopardy had not attached, and there’d been no adjudication on the merits, so on what grounds could it be dismissed with prejudice?

    Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | August 29, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    They had to destroy the compound in order to save it.

    Also, we need to vote for socialism in order to find out what’s in it.

    Sanddog in reply to Milhouse. | August 30, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    The area was torn up when they went in with a backhoe to retrieve a trailer that was stolen in Alabama. The initial raid on August 3rd was conducted by the Taos County Sheriff’s office and the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance. There was no New Mexico State Police presence, no FBI. They went in thinking they’d arrest Wahhaj, find the kid and retrieve the trailer. The FBI did have their eyes on Wahhaj, due to his father, his recent trip to Mecca and the removal of his kid from Georgia but they weren’t building a terrorism case. The Sheriff’s office took pictures of the compound on the initial bust but didn’t gather evidence because this was a child abuse case, not a terrorism case. It’s still not a terrorism case. There’s a pretty wide gulf between discussing the possibility of attacking people and institutions and actually having a plan in place, having the means and the opportunity to fulfill your plans. That’s why Taos isn’t crawling with FBI agents. There’s not going to be a terrorism charge brought against the adults. We’ll be lucky if they can get a felony conviction against Leveille and Wahhaj by the time this is over.

If I wanted to make this incident just go away, I just might make sure we never release any information such as happens in a trial and I might also erase the crime scene so nobody could go back to look for any evidence that might have been missed. The story does not feel right.

Good investigators do not dismiss coincident events. What agency carries this one forward, if any? Or, does it silently cease to exist? My money is on #2.

This one appears to have been covered up as well as the Debbie Wasserman Schultz/Awan IT scandal. And all the evidence has already been destroyed. Just like Hillary’s server and phones. Too convenient. It’s really becoming curious what the deep state is up to.

    Sanddog in reply to Max17. | August 30, 2018 at 12:42 am

    Don’t attribute to conspiracy what can be explained with incompetence. I know all the players and believe me, incompetence is a reasonable explanation.

Is New Mexico prosecuting this or are the feds involved. I would think that if the principal criminal (yes I’m prejudging the case since I won’t be on the jury and I don’t therefore have to pretend I’m neutral) stole his son from Georgia and crossed multiple state lines that the feds would be involved.

Not that I necessarily thing it matters. Since Trump the lib DoJ lawyers have been taking a dive.

    Sanddog in reply to Arminius. | August 30, 2018 at 12:40 am

    The feds haven’t filed any charges. Georgia had filed on custodial interference but they’ve dropped the charges. It’s not kidnapping because both parents were married and shared parental custody.

caseoftheblues | August 29, 2018 at 7:49 pm

Heaven help the non Muslim non protected class parent who let’s their child walk a dog around their block….they will get the book thrown at them

It’s okay. Public trust in law enforcement is at record highs, so nobody will probably notice.

regulus arcturus | August 29, 2018 at 9:49 pm

How is this even possible?

Our legal system is gone.

2A kicks in in 5…4…3…

Before everyone gets their knockers in a twist, this is not the end of the world. While a serious procedural failing, the failure to proceed with a preliminary hearing within the stipulated time frame does not absolve the defendants of future prosecution for the same acts.

The prosecutor should have been keeping tabs on the incarceration status of the defendants. Most states actually have automated systems which allow the court and prosecutors to check on the incarceration status of any inmate at any time. So, it is simply a horrible case of incompetence for a prosecutor NOT to know that a defendant was not released and was, therefor, subject to a ten day time limit for a preliminary hearing. While I was an investigator, I was always keenly aware of the 21 day filing deadline for in-custody, felony criminal charges. And, there were a few times when I came close to the deadline because a witness had taken a “vacation” and I had to track him down to secure a statement required to file the case.

So, all the prosecution has to do is to secure a warrant or criminal indictment and re-arrest the defendants. And, their defense attorneys swore that they were not flight risks, so that should not be difficult to do.

    Sanddog in reply to Mac45. | August 30, 2018 at 2:44 am

    The DA and every person in his office (right next to the county jail) knew exactly where they were and knew they had not been released. This is a small town.. less than 6K people in a county that’s larger than the state of Delaware (Pop @33K). They’ve been the main subject of discussion everywhere and among everyone for the last month.

    regulus arcturus in reply to Mac45. | August 30, 2018 at 9:50 am

    You’re assuming this “serious failing” was an unintentional mistake.

    Incompetence easily masks corruption.

Okay, for the conspiracy theorists among you, I’m sorry to disappoint but this has nothing to do with secret orders being passed down or the fact that Taos county is bluer than blue. Here’s what’s actually happening on the ground here:

The 5 idiot adults and the 12 unfortunate children arrived here in December of last year. Morton purchased 10 acres of land in a “subdivision” called Costilla meadows in Amalia NM, just a stone’s throw (literally) from the Colorado boarder. Now you’ve probably seen the “compound” on television or pictures on the internet and thought to yourself it’s a really desolate area. Actually, it’s quite beautiful, unless you’re staring straight at the ground. It’s surrounded by mountains at an elevation of about 8500 ft. I know this area because I’ve been scouting properties up there for when we retire. Anyway, the so-called Taos five were completely unprepared for life off the grid. The power lines don’t cross the road and the REC has no plans on changing that so you need a good solar system. You also need to dig a well and install a septic system. The roads leading to the property are the best dirt roads I’ve ever seen in this state. Wide, well graded and better than many paved roads so you could also put in a propane tank and they’d be more than happy to deliver from down the road in Questa. The area does have 4G cell service so phones aren’t a problem. Most of the homes in that subdivision are normal, off grid houses. The neighbors are friendly and that’s how they suspects survived the end of our unseasonably mild winter last year.. through the kindness of their neighbors. That kindness, however, was running on empty by the time they were busted thanks to their trash heap compound, the sound of gun fire and concerns about the kids. When you’re on 10 acre lots, with visible houses around you, it’s not a good idea to empty a few 30 round magazines with your AR-15 daily, particularly when your lot is bordered by other lots. When you compound this with the fact that they weren’t clear on their property lines and had built on the edge of their neighbor’s property.. well, the end was coming sooner, rather than later.

In January, law enforcement in Georgia swore out an arrest warrant for Wahhaj and a pick up order for his son. Around that time, he came on the FBI’s radar. They know Morton owned property in Amalia and they started aerial surveillance. On May 14th, the FBI contacted the Sheriff’s office and requested assistance on a child kidnapping case. They’d been surveilling the compound but had never entered the property because they lacked evidence. I suspect they thought they could get the courts here issue a warrant to give the Sheriff’s office authorization. They were mistaken. On June 8th, the property owner requested assistance from the Sheriff’s office to remove a squatter from his property. The Sheriff’s office told him to get an eviction notice. When Badger went to municipal court, he filed the wrong paperwork and the judge kicked it back and told him to refile. He never did. The Sheriff’s office finally got their probable cause when one of the women messaged a family member back in Georgia on facebook and asked for money and food. The family member contacted the police in Georgia who then contacted the Taos county Sheriff’s office. They were able to get a warrant to enter the compound on Aug 3rd.

When they initially raided the compound, they had a limited warrant and took the adults and children into custody and made note of the conditions of the camp. The son of Wahhaj wasn’t present and none of the adults or children would say where he was. Unfortunately, the property wasn’t secured and the property owner Jason Badger, his wife and an NBC news crew crawled all over the property on August 5th, digging through personal belongings and they actually jury rigged a cart with a camera to explore the tunnels that had been dug. The next day, the sheriff’s office was able to get another warrant and go back to search the property where the found the body of the young boy, wrapped in plastic and buried under garbage inside a tunnel. They also took back other evidence that the defense is no doubt going to be challenge as being tainted.

When the initial bust was made on August 3rd, the arresting deputies noticed a flash drive in the purse owned by Jany Leveille. They got a warrant to seize the drive and on it, they found a journal kept by Leveille where she describes performing a ruqya on the child and watching him die on December 24th. Leveille is a Haitian Muslim (and Wahhaj’s second wife) who is a believer in black magic. She convinced Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the boys’s father that he wasn’t really sick but possessed by evil spirits. Apparently, she was able to convince the other adults of this as well. Leveille was the one who convinced them the child would be resurrected as Jesus and give the children lists of people who needed to be punished or killed. Apparently, Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta was at the top of her list. Some of the evidence they found is truly horrific, like making the children wash the corpse of the young boy as punishment.

When the suspects had their bond hearing on August 13th, they were charged with 11 counts of child abuse each. The prosecution offered absolutely no evidence regarding the physical condition of the children. The Sheriff’s office claimed they were malnourished but there were no doctor’s reports, no photographs, no real evidence to show they would be a danger to the community based on the charges. They wove some broad theories about terrorism but provided no actual evidence that they had the will or ability to follow through. Due to a constitutional amendment that was passed in 2016 that prohibits holding people in pre-trial detention who aren’t a threat to the community, the prosecution needed to show clear and convincing evidence that the community would be at risk if they were released. They did not and Judge Backus issued conditions of release that included GPS monitoring, remaining in the county, not returning to the property, only supervised contact with the children. Since they couldn’t find housing individually in the county, they remained in jail.

On August 14th, trespass charges were brought against the 5 adults. Their bond hearing was on the 23rd of August and none of the suspects were ordered to be held in pre-trail detention. They still remained in jail due to their inability to secure housing. On August 24th, additional charges were brought against Wahhaj and Leveille: Abuse of a child resulting in death (placed in a dangerous situation) and conspiracy. The bond hearing for those charges will be on September 4th. Today, August 29th, a hearing was held on the dismissal of the original 11 counts of child abuse for all 5 adults. New Mexico Supreme Court Rule 5-302 requires a preliminary hearing within 10 days of their incarceration. The District attorney’s office claimed they had 60 days because the judge did set conditions of release and it wasn’t their fault that the suspects were still in jail (yeah, they are that incompetent). Neither of the judges hearing the cases today bought that excuse and due to changes in the law in 2016, if the state misses their deadline, the remedy is a dismissal of the charges. In case this wasn’t enough of a dumpster fire already, the Sheriff’s office filed child abuse charges again against Wahhaj and Leville during the middle of their hearing. Judge McElroy had clearly reached the end of his limits and slammed both the DA’s office and the Sheriff department, whom he said did not have legal authority to file charges due to a voter approved NM law dating back to 1924.

So Morton and the Wahhaj sisters were released from custody late this afternoon, location unknown, and Siraj and Jany will remain in custody until their bond hearing next tuesday.

This whole thing is suspicious. The crime scene is destroyed by the government, the judge orders ludicrously lax bail, and the DA screws up badly enough to get the charges dismissed (without prejudice at least). It’s almost as if somebody behind the scenes is covering for them.

    Sanddog in reply to randian. | August 30, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    On the Aug 3rd raid, they went in specifically to arrest Wahhaj and find his son. The New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance tagged along because they believed a stolen trailer was on the property. When they saw the other children and the conditions of the camp, they took the kids and arrested the adults. They went in on a limited warrant and didn’t have the authority to shut down the property. The physical condition of the kids was their evidence. There was zero talk of terrorism until the FBI agent reported the oldest kid said they were training him to shoot so he could take down corrupt institutions. The FBI nosed in looking for terrorism and yet they didn’t find enough actual evidence to get a warrant to seize the contents of the compound and there are no federal charges. As for the bail issue, the voters of NM in 2016, voted for a constitutional amendment that would make it more difficult to hold suspects in pre-trial detention unless there was concrete evidence that they posed an immediate threat to the community. It also prevents a judge from imposing a cash only bond on someone who is indigent. Judge Backus set the strictest conditions allowed under the law and all she got for it was criticism and death threats. As for the actions of the DA’s office, well… if you lived here, you’d understand why no one in Taos is surprised. They are understaffed, overworked, underfunded and they let stuff fall through the cracks on a daily basis. Their turnover for ADAs is extremely high and the DA himself is a political animal who is more concerned about winning elections than running the office.

The Soros funded AG that ran on “criminal justice reform” slow walked this.

truthfully, I can’t even read this article right now. The implications, though I don’t even know exactly what they are, are horrifying. Our government is out of control and there seems little we can do about it.

    regulus arcturus in reply to elle. | August 30, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    It actually isn’t this bad. Relax.

    Here out west, if any of these idiots get out of line, we shoot them. Including judges