TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Five residents of a New Mexico compound were arrested on Friday by the FBI for violating firearms and conspiracy laws in what one of their lawyers described as a “bad development” for the group, who are accused of planning anti-government attacks.
Jany Leveille, 35; Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40; Hujrah Wahhaj, 37; Subhanah Wahhaj, 35; and Lucas Morton, 40, were charged in criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
The arrests and charges came two days after two judges dismissed child abuse charges against the five defendants on procedural grounds and allowed three to be released from jail in Taos.
The FBI said it arrested the defendants “without incident” in Taos.
Marie Legrand Miller, defense attorney for Hujrah Wahhaj, called the arrests “a very quick and peaceful turn-in.”
Tom Clark, Ibn Wahhaj’s lawyer, said the arrests were not a huge surprise as the FBI had been “involved from the beginning.”
The five defendants, who are all black and Muslim, came under FBI surveillance in May at their remote settlement north of Taos after Leveille sent a letter to Ibn Wahhaj’s brother asking him to join them and become a “martyr,” state prosecutors said on Aug. 13.