11 emaciated children are rescued from a filthy and heavily armed compound

07 August, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Carlos George
  • Father arrested for abduction; son still missing

The children, ranging in age from 1 to 15, were removed from the compound in the small community of Amalia, near the New Mexico-Colorado border, about 145 miles northeast of Albuquerque. The dwelling had no running water or electricity and was described by Sheriff Hogrefe as "the saddest living conditions and poverty [he has] seen".

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe says a message was forwarded to them from a Georgia detective they believed came from someone at the compound.

Authorities in New Mexico discovered 11 children and three women being held in a remote, makeshift compound.

Police in rural New Mexico have rescued 11 children from a "squalid" makeshift compound after receiving a tip that they were "starving" and desperately in need of food and water.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation and subsequent search, including the FBI, Taos County Sheriff's Office and police in Clayton County, Georgia, according to the Associated Press report.

The other man, Lucas Morten, was arrested on suspicion of harboring a fugitive, Hogrefe said.

On Thursday, Hogrefe issued a search warrant for the compound, described as an earthen berm in a local subdivision was allegedly occupied by Morten and Siraj Wahhaj.

"While Hogrefe said in his press release the Federal Bureau of Investigation "didn't feel there was enough probable cause" to enter the property", the sheriff said "that all changed" for him when a Clayton County Police Detective relayed a distress message believed to have come from within the compound.

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Siraj Wahhaj, 39, was wanted out of Clayton County, Georgia for the abduction of his 3-year old son, Abdul Wahhaj.

A spokesman for the Taos County sheriff's department said the department suspected the boy was at the compound, but didn't have enough evidence to go onto the property.

In a federal court filing in 2006, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj claimed he was harassed on his way to and from Morocco by customs agents at JFK Airport in NY because he is "the son of the famous Muslim Imam Siraj Wahhaj". Investigators believe the women are the mothers of the children.

Siraj Wahhaj and Jany Leveille are also said to be married.

The sheriff said in a news release at the time of the men were arrested that the women were not cooperating with law enforcement officials.

And two men, including the missing boy's father, were found armed to the hilt with a cache of weapons and ammo, the Taos County Sheriff's Office said.

According to CNN affiliate WGCL-TV, Abdul-Ghani's mother reported him missing on December 17, saying that she had last seen her son December 1, as he left to go to the park with his father. Police in Alabama found out the group was traveling to New Mexico for a camping trip.

Hogrefe said the adults and children had no shoes, wore dirty rags for clothing and "looked like Third World country refugees". The boy, whose mother says he is encephalopathic and needs emergency medication, wasn't found at the compound.

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