Prosecutor cancels grand jury in New Mexico compound case
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A district attorney on Wednesday canceled plans to convene a grand jury to hear testimony against five adults who were initially detained on suspicion of child neglect at a ramshackle compound in New Mexico where a boy was found dead.
Taos-area District Attorney Donald Gallegos took the action as federal prosecutors prepare a firearms and conspiracy case against the extended family.
Gallegos said the federal case should go forward before the state convenes a grand jury.
In early August, authorities found 11 children living in filth at the compound and later recovered the body of a severely disabled 3-year-old boy. Police in Georgia say the child was kidnapped by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj.
State charges of child abuse resulting in death were previously dropped against Wahhaj and wife Jany Leveille.
The couple remains jailed along with Wahhaj’s sisters Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhanah Wahhaj, and his brother-in-law Lucas Morton.
A federal grand jury indictment alleges the defendants transported firearms and ammunition from Georgia to New Mexico in late 2017. They deny the allegations.
New Mexico authorities have alleged that Leveille declared herself a prophet and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj helped train children for potential attacks on schools, law enforcement agencies and other institutions.
Defense attorneys dispute those allegations, noting that evidence was based on uncorroborated statements of children who had been interviewed by authorities without a parent or guardian present.