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Press Release

Taos Compound Defendants Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Jany Leveille, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, his sisters Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhanah Wahhaj, and Subhanah’s husband, Lucas Morton, appeared before a federal judge for sentencing. Siraj, Hujrah and Subhanah Wahhaj, and Lucas Morton were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Per the terms of her plea agreement, Leveille was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Upon her release from prison, Leveille will enter removal proceedings.

On Oct. 17, 2023, after a three-week trial, a federal jury convicted Siraj Wahhaj and Lucas Morton of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder an officer or employee of the United States. Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhanah Wahhaj and Lucas Morton were additionally convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnapping resulting in death and kidnapping resulting in death.  Jany Leveille pled guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and being in possession of a firearm while unlawfully in the United States on Aug. 8, 2023.

According to publicly available court records, in December of 2017, the group, led by Leveille, abducted Siraj Wahhaj’s three-year-old son, Abdul Ghani, from his mother in Georgia and transported him to a remote property in Amalia, New Mexico. The group intended to use the child as a prop in a plan to rid the world of purportedly corrupt institutions, including the FBI, CIA, and U.S. military, and to kill those who did not convert and follow Leveille. The planning and training for this conspiracy took place at a heavily fortified, purpose-built, militarized compound in Amalia.

After Abdul Ghani died at the compound, Leveille prophesized, and the rest of the group believed, that Abdul Ghani was going to resurrect on Easter, which was April 1, 2018, and that he would lead the group to face society and kill those who did not join them. In response, the group’s firearms and tactical training ramped up in frequency, intensity, and complexity in anticipation of the Easter resurrection. When Abdul Ghani did not resurrect on Easter, Leveille began to talk about him returning around the time of his birthday (August 6, 2018) or as Subhanah Wahhaj’s soon-to-be born child.

On Aug. 3, 2018, the Taos County Sheriff's Office's Tactical SRT Unit integrated with agents from New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance and executed warrants on the heavily fortified compound. SRT was able to secure the compound and the suspects without incident or a single shot fired. Additionally, the children in the compound were secured and safely turned over to child welfare authorities. While clearing the compound, weapons, ammunition, and training documents were discovered confirming intelligence that had been received. During a subsequent search of the compound on Aug. 6, 2018, Abdul Ghani’s birthday, law enforcement located the remains of Abdul Ghani in an underground tunnel. The investigation found Abdul died on Christmas Eve, 2017, before anyone was aware the group was in New Mexico.

“All of the children are all of our children, and loss of any child is a loss to us all,” said U.S. Attorney Uballez. “The horrifying events of 2017 and 2018 played out in graphic detail during this trial: from radical ideologies to violent extremist beliefs, the banality of everyday life centered around the corpse of a dead child within a fortified compound in rural New Mexico. But at its heart, this case is about the senseless death of three-year-old Abdul Ghani. As a father, I offer my deepest condolences as well as my gratitude to our federal law enforcement partners, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, DOJ’s National Security Division, and my trial team for delivering justice.”

“The sentences imposed today send a clear message: The FBI takes its mission of protecting the American public seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to uncover and stop all terrorism efforts whether it be by large scale organizations or small US-based violent extremist participating in self-initiated attack plotting as seen in this case,” said Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda. “While today’s sentencing cannot take away the pain or fill the void of the innocent child who was kidnapped and subsequently lost his life, I sincerely hope there is some comfort in knowing that those who committed this terrible crime have been brought to justice. The FBI would like to thank all of our local, state and federal partners, the US Attorney’s Office, and specifically the Taos County Sheriff’s Office for their diligent work on this case, which removed the threat posed by these dangerous criminals to potentially conduct attacks on US soil against innocent people.”

“Through integrated teamwork, an extremely high-risk operation was successfully conducted against an established terror group in which warrants were executed and suspects were taken into custody without a single shot being fired, denying them of the fulfillment of their intended terrorist intentions. All Deputies and suspects were uninjured and most importantly above all else, 11 children were removed from harm’s way without injury,” said Taos County Sheriff Steve Miera. “On behalf of the People of Taos County, I would like to sincerely extend our gratitude to the NM Office of the Superintendent of Insurance (OSI), FBI, US Attorney’s Office, and its support staff, the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, as well as the NM DHS.”

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, NM Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, and the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Brawley and Tavo Hall for the District of New Mexico and Trial Attorneys Jessica Joyce and George Kraehe of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case.

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Updated March 6, 2024

Domestic Terrorism
Press Release Number: 24-98