New Mexico compound suspects plead not guilty
Five suspects who lived on a New Mexico compound pleaded not guilty to charges they conspired to provide material support in preparation for attacks on federal law enforcement officers and members of the military.
The defendants, Jany Leveille, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhanah Wahhaj and Lucas Morton, all pleaded not guilty Thursday, according to Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth M. Martinez.
The five were arrested last summer after law enforcement raided the compound where they lived in rural New Mexico. Authorities also found 11 emaciated children wearing rags and no shoes.
The group had apparently been living off the grid for months in the trash-ridden lot. Days later, authorities found the decomposed remains of Siraj Wahhaj’s son, 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. The defendants were initially arrested and charged with child abuse by state authorities.
CNN has reached out to Billy Blackburn, an attorney for Subhanah Wahhaj and continues to attempt to reach out to attorneys for the other defendants
A grand jury in Albuquerque returned a superseding indictment charging the suspects with federal offenses related to terrorism, kidnapping and firearms violations. The superseding indictment replaced one returned by a grand jury last year and includes more serious charges.
In the superseding indictment, Leveille, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhanah Wahhaj and Morton were also charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
Leveille has been accused of being in the United States illegally and of having firearms and ammunition. The other four were previously charged with aiding and abetting Leveille, and conspiring with her.
All five defendants are now charged with “conspiracy from October 2017 to August 2018 to provide material support and resources, including currency, training, weapons, and personnel, knowing and intending that they were to be used in preparation for and in carrying out attacks to kill officers and employees of the United States,” according to the Justice Department.
All of the defendants are in custody awaiting trial, according to the department.
Some of the child abuse charges brought by the state were dismissed by a state judge last year due to a procedural error by the prosecution.