Judge drops all charges against New Mexico compound suspects
3 ‘extremist Muslim’ New Mexico compound of suspects released. Jeff Paul has the story.
A New Mexico district attorney is vowing to “pursue prosecution” against the “extremist Muslim” compound defendants who were released on Wednesday, just hours after all the charges against the three were dropped.
District court judge Emilio Chavez on Wednesday dismissed against three of the five suspects — Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj — ruling that the authorities had violated the state’s “10-day rule.”
Child abuse against them were dropped, because the plaintiffs missed the 10-day limit for requesting hearing to establish probable cause. Chavez said that it is a very difficult decision to drop the charges, but the rule left him no choice.
“The actions of yesterday by the district judges will not have any impact on our ongoing efforts to the prosecution of the persons charged originally,” Eighth judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos said in a statement Thursday. “While we do not agree with the judges, they did their work. We will continue with our.
“The future, our options are to refile the charges or take the cases to the grand jury. We are reviewing and decide which avenue to pursue. What is important to know is that we will continue to seek the prosecution of the cases.”
During a separate hearing Wednesday, Judge Jeff McElroy dismissed the same charges against other suspects Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Jany Leveille. However, the charges against them on Friday in connection with a 3-year-old boy’s death remained.
The five suspects were arrested by the authorities after an Aug. 3 the raid itself followed a monthslong investigation of the 3-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj’s disappearance. He has a serious medical problems and disappeared from Georgia in December. The residents of the compound were “probably heavily armed and is considered an extremist Muslim faith,” an official said at the time.
Taos County Sheriff’s deputies found 11 children at the compound who were taken into the custody of the child to the well-being of the employees. On Aug. 6, a child’s remains were found on the premises. The body was identified as that of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.
On Thursday, Gallegos fought back against the criticism of the prosecutors’ handling of loads.
“Finally, I always welcome criticism and, as officials, our judges have also,” Gallegos said in the statement. “However, I ask that you be civil and respectful in your criticism because that is more constructive. Scold and threaten the people involved will not achieve justice and serves no useful purpose. Don’t forget, you don’t have all the facts. That will develop as the cases progress.”
Fox News’ Faith Mangan and Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.
Matt Richardson is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @MRichardson713.