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Eleven children found at squalid New Mexico compound, two arrested

Eleven children found at squalid New Mexico compound, two arrested

"The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice", Hogrefe said after the police operation at the compound.

Deputies had to "physically" take Wahhaj down to place him in custody, the sheriff said. Wahhaj also faces an abduction charge for allegedly kidnapping the child from his Georgia home a year ago.

Mr Wahhaj told the trooper that he owned the guns legally and had a Georgia permit to carry concealed weapons.

Morton was arrested on the charge of suspicion of harboring a fugitive.

Hogrefe said while the search did not turn up the missing boy, investigators had reason to believe the boy had been at the compound fairly recently. It was not immediately clear if the two suspects, who are both from Clayton County, Georgia, had retained criminal defence attorneys.

Morton was among the five adults arrested after the Taos County sheriff raided the compound. During the raid, Abdul-Ghani was not found among the children.

Law enforcement officers have discovered the remains of a young boy at a compound in Amalia, New Mexico, that was raided over the weekend, the county sheriff's office confirmed Tuesday.

The mother of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj called Clayton County police on December 10, 2017.

They were later arrested after authorities executed a second search warrant on the compound on Sunday, and each of the five adults were charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse, Hogrefe said.

The children were removed from the compound and turned over to state child-welfare workers.

The newspaper adds, "According to Clayton County police, the toddler and his father had last been seen December 13 traveling with two adults and five children in Alabama when they were involved in a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 65".

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The FBI had provided information and surveillance on the spot but "didn't feel there was enough probable cause to get on the property", Mr Hogrefe said.

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.

Image: The conditions in the compound were described as "sad".

They said the children, aged one to 15, had no shoes, were wearing rags and "looked like Third World refugees".

But Ramzi clarified to CNN that her husband said he was planning to perform a ruqya - an Islamic practice involving prayer that is believed to help rid a body of illness.

But he says the courts and other authorities shot down his attempts to break up the encampment - described as a trailer buried in the ground in Amalia, just south of the New Mexico-Colorado line.

Inside the compound, Mr Wahhaj, 39, was found heavily armed with multiple firearms including a loaded AR-15, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.

"We had told them several times that you know they're not tenants, they're not paying this rent, they're squatters, they're there illegally - I don't want them there", Jason Badger said.

"Today we will be filing the petition with the court to maintain custody of those children", said Monique Jacobson, cabinet secretary for the department.

The three women were also arrested over the weekend, and all five adults have been charged with child abuse, third-degree felonies, for allegedly exposing the children to risky conditions at the compound.


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