update at the end
Prosecutors failed to meet a ten-day deadline for an evidentiary hearing to establish probable cause for five extremist Muslims in New Mexico who abused 11 children and left one dead. The extremists are also accused of hatching plans to launch terror attacks.
The judge in the case said he had no choice but to drop the charges.
District Judge Emilio Chavez on Wednesday dismissed charges against Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj, and Hujrah Wahhaj, ruling that authorities violated the state’s “10-day rule.” He dropped all charges against them.
They were freed hours later.
During a separate hearing Wednesday, Judge Jeff McElroy dismissed the same charges against fellow defendants, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Jany Leveille. The two remained imprisoned because they were still accused in the death of Siraj’s three-year-old child.
Jany is also here illegally.
On Thursday the New Mexico DA vowed to “pursue prosecution” despite the dropped charges.
The Sentinel wondered if the case was trumped up by overly-enthusiastic sheriffs. It just didn’t make sense. Now we don’t know what to say because the FBI has rearrested the five. They must be concerned.
This group could be a cell. The children said they were being trained to attack enemies.
Fox News reports the FBI announced Friday that it arrested all five.
“The criminal complaint charges Jany Leveille with being an alien unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition in the District of New Mexico from Nov. 2017 through Aug. 2018,” the bureau said. “The criminal complaint charges the other four defendants with aiding and abetting Leveille in committing the offense, and with conspiring with Leveille to commit the offense.”
The charges are federal and all they could come up with for now. At least the five suspects aren’t free. This gives the FBI time to look at their rantings about killing teachers and other enemies.
It stops the bleeding from a seemingly failed prosecution.
Since we posted this, the AP reported local prosecutors dropped charges in the death of a 3-year-old boy at the property.
Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos said his office will now seek grand jury indictments involving the death.
He said seeking indictments will allow more time to gather and analyze evidence and enable his office to avoid calling juveniles from the compound as witnesses in court.
“Going to a grand jury allows us to get that information and vet it and not be under the 10-day window, which is quite burdensome,” Gallegos said, describing state rules of due process for jailed defendants that require a quick showing of probable cause that a crime was committed.
All five people arrested by the FBI will remain in custody pending a Tuesday hearing in federal court.
It appears the prosecutors are having a difficult time getting their act together.