The five adults living at a remote compound in northern New Mexico were arrested by the FBI on firearms and conspiracy charges.
The arrests on Aug. 31 were announced after a judge released three of the suspects on Aug. 30, due to failure by local prosecutors to follow a procedural rule.
The judge dismissed child abuse charges against Lucas Morton; his wife, Subhannah Wahhaj; and her sister Hujrah Wahhaj.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, brother of the two women, and his wife, Jany Leveille, were not released because they’re facing separate charges over the death of Wahhaj’s 3-year-old son. The toddler’s body was found at the compound, while 11 other children were discovered during the Aug. 3 raid on the compound, starving and living in dismal conditions.
The FBI’s charges focus on Leveille, an illegal alien from Haiti who had been living in the United States for years.
The criminal complaint charged Leveille with being an alien unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition in New Mexico from November 2017 through August 2018; the other four defendants were charged with aiding and abetting Leveille in committing the offense, and with conspiring with Leveille to commit the offense.
During the raid, law enforcement officers found at least 11 firearms and a large quantity of ammunition, which officials believe was transported from Georgia and/or Alabama to New Mexico in Leveille’s vehicle.
All five adults face up to 15 years in prison, with Levelle facing deportation after completing her sentence if convicted.
How the 3-Year-Old Died
Leveille allegedly led the group initially to New Mexico, and was a practitioner of occultism.
Tariq Abdur Rashid, whose daughter is married to Siraj Wahhaj’s brother, told The Epoch Times that she convinced her husband that she was a “messiah.” “She set herself up as the interpreter of God’s word,” he said.
Prosecutors said evidence indicated that the 3-year-old boy died during a religious ritual” intended to “cast out demonic spirits,” reported Reuters. The boy was initially kidnapped from his mother in Georgia.
The boy stopped breathing and soon died during a ceremony, prosecutors said. Wahhaj had placed his hand on the boy’s head and was reciting verses from the Koran just before the boy began suffering seizures and foaming at the mouth. He was soon dead.
Ibn Wahhaj’s 15-year-old son recounted to officials that one of the adults told him the spirit of the dead boy would return as “Jesus” to direct the group on where to carry out the violent attacks they were allegedly training for.