11 children rescued from filthy compound with little food or water

11 children rescued from filthy compound with little food or water

11 children rescued from filthy compound with little food or water

Two men from Georgia are in custody, one - 39-year-old Siraj Wahhaj - on a warrant out of Georgia on child abduction and the other - Lucas Morten - on charges of harboring a fugitive, the Sheriff's Office said Saturday.

"The children are in our custody and our number one priority right now is their health and safety", New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department Secretary Monique Jacobsons said in a statement. Armed with a search warrant, the officers found five adults, including Wahhaj, and 11 children at the compound.

'We also knew from the layout of the compound they would have an advantage if we didn't deploy tactfully and quickly, ' Sheriff Hogrefe said in a statement.

Hogrefe said the adults and children were without shoes and wore basically dirty rags for clothing and "looked like Third World country refugees".

Wahhaj was wanted for the abduction of his 3-year-old son Abdul Ghani Wahhaj in Georgia, authorities said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had surveilled the compound for several weeks leading up to last week's raid, but did not find probable cause to conduct a search. "It was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen".

Siraj Wahhaj and Lucas Morton were served with the warrants while in custody at the Taos Adult Detention Center on earlier charges.

Many more rounds of ammo were found in the makeshift compound that consisted of a small travel trailer buried in the ground covered by plastic with no water, plumbing, or electricity.

Ibn Wahhaj, who was heavily armed, refused to cooperate at first, but was eventually "taken down", the sheriff's office said.

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"The message sent to a third party simply said in part, 'We are starving and need food and water, ' " Hogrefe wrote in a news release.

Hogrefe said police got a search warrant after learning that someone at the compound reported people were starving there and in need of water.

The three women were also briefly detained for questioning, but not criminally charged.

He says 35-year-old Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahha were arrested without incident in the town of Taos and booked into jail. "I don't know his condition", said Hakima Ramzi in a tearful Facebook Live video in January pleading for the return of her son who she said had physical and mental disabilities. Area residents tell the Taos News that they never had any problems with the group, though they did seem mysterious.

It was not immediately clear if the two suspects, who are both from Clayton County, Georgia, had retained criminal defence attorneys.

That all changed last week, according to Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe, who received a tip from a Georgia investigator the children's welfare was in danger. He said none of the adults, even the women who are not being charged, would answer any questions about Abdul-Ghani, but they do believe he was there a few weeks ago.

Alabama police said they were told the group were going camping in New Mexico, the station said.

Three women - one pregnant - were found with the men and children inside the trailer.

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