Federal immigration authorities have in their custody one of the women who was arrested last week at a secretive Muslim “extremist” compound that was raid in New Mexico. According to the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, Jany Leveille, 35, was arrested on August 4 when local and state law officers raid the compound in rural Amalia. They discovered two men, three women and 11 children living in squalor. The adults are believed to have been training for a mass shooting, possibly at schools. The leader of the group is the son of a prominent Muslim leader in New York City. 

Leveille was arrested on Tuesday. On Monday, Taos District Court Judge Sarah Backus denied a motion to hold her and the other suspects without bail. Laveille is believed to be a national of Haiti. The other suspects are U.S. citizens. 

In a statement posted on Facebook, Taos County Sheriff jerry Hogrefe noted that Laveille “has been transferred to the custody of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),” saying further that he count not comment further about her immigration status “other that a warrant was served this morning.” USCIS is a component of the Department of Homeland Security that handles visa applications and immigration benefits, but does not serve warrants. At DHS, it is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that locates and arrests persons suspect of immigration violations.

Judge Backus order the five defendants - Siraj Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhannah Wahhaj, Lucas Morten, and Laveille  — released on a $20,000 signature bond. They are required to wear ankle monitors and have weekly contact with their attorneys. However, the judge ruled that the prosecution was not able to demonstrate that the defendants posed a threat to the community and should have their bail denied. “The state alleges that there was a big plan afoot,” Backus said, according to Reuters. “But the state hasn’t shown to my satisfaction, in clear and convincing evidence, what that plan was.”

According to prosecutors, all five were providing firearms training to the 11 children “in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school shootings.” On Monday, an FBI agent testified that one of the children said that targets would include “the financial system, law enforcement, the education system.”

Suspect Siraj Wahha is the son of a prominent Brooklyn imam of the same name. He will remain in custody because of a Georgia warrant stemming from allegations that he kidnapped his 4-year-old son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, in December. It is believed that human remains found in a tunnel at the compound may be those of young Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, Wahha’s son who prosecutors assert died during a supposed exorcism conducted by this father. 

Judge Backus has been the object of numerous death threats citing her release of the suspects on a signature bond. The judge said in her ruling that prosecutors supposedly called on her to understand that the suspects' Islamic faith contributed to their "dangerousness" and thus keep them in jail. 

 

 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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