Suspects in case of children found on compound released against sheriff's pleas

The Latest: FBI: Missing boy died months ago

They presented evidence of the firearms training done by Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and described a compound fortified by old tires and wooden pallets.

Backus ruled that she would allow the defendants to be released pending further hearings on conditions, including that they each post an unsecured $20,000 bond, wear Global Positioning System devices to track their movements and not leave Taos County without permission.

Still, she said prosecutors failed to articulate any specific threats or plan against the community.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Lucas Morton, 40, Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35 - on $20,000 bond each on Monday evening and ordered them to wear ankle monitors until trial, the Taos County Sheriff's Office announced. "Troubling facts about numerous children in far from ideal circumstances and individuals who are living in a very unconventional way", Backus said.

Defense attorneys for the two men and three women arrested on child abuse charges following a raid at a northern New Mexico compound argue that prosecutors are unjustly trying to paint their clients as armed militants.

Authorities have yet to confirm that the child is indeed dead, but last week, a search uncovered the human remains of a child on the compound.

The body of a young boy believed to be his son was found in a tunnel at the site three days after the raid.

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The 11 children, ranging from one to 15 years old and described by authorities as starving and ragged when they were found, were placed in protective custody after the August 3 raid. No charges have been filed in connection with the death. The children and infants were being trained to use firearms "in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school shootings", according to court documents cited by Reuters. Taylor said prospective targets would include "the financial system, law enforcement, the education system".

Family members say the remains of a boy found at the compound last week are those of Wahhaj's disabled son, though state medical examiners have not yet identified the body conclusively.

Taylor testified FL described the rituals performed on Abdul and others on the compound and told him the rituals began in Georgia, after Leveille received a message from God to head to New Mexico to expel demons from Abdul.

In describing what the children said about the death of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, Lovelace said, "It was a religious ritual carried out on Abdul-Ghani, a ritual meant to cast out demonic spirits" from him. Aside from some rifles, handguns and ammunition, authorities say they found books on being effective in combat and building untraceable assault-style rifles. "All five defendants knew about these rituals, '" said Taos County Prosecutor John Lovelace.

According to Lovelace, Ibn Wahhaj told police at the time that he had the guns because he worked for an executive security business and that he was going on a camping trip in New Mexico. Lawyer Tom Clark, representing defendant Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, had argued to Backus before her ruling that the state was treating the defendants unfairly.

But a lawyer for one of the defendants said the evidence might be viewed in a different light if the defendants were "white Christians" instead of black Muslims.

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