FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2018, file photo, Jany Leveille, from left, with her attorney Kelly Golightley, and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj with attorney Tom Clark listen to the prosecutor during a hearing on a motion to dismiss in the Taos County Courthouse. Federal prosecutors say the FBI has arrested five former residents, including Leveille and Wahhaj, of a ramshackle compound in northern New Mexico on firearms and conspiracy charges as local prosecutors dropped charges in the death of a 3-year-old boy at the property. Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos said Friday, Aug. 31, his office will now seek grand jury indictments involving the death.
Photo: Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, Pool, File
Photo: Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, Pool, File

FBI: Atlanta family spoke of ‘jihad,’ wanted to start army at compound

In a criminal complaint filed Friday, the FBI lays out a slew of allegations against a group of Atlantans found heavily armed and living on a secluded compound in the New Mexico desert.

The filing says the group spoke of “jihad” and of starting an army before authorities raided the camp early last month. It also says Jany Leveille, 35, a Haitian national who has been in the U.S. illegally for some 20 years, was the “head of household” and had instructed her Islamic husband to get his child and “bring him to her” before they traveled to New Mexico. The child was Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, 3, the son of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Wahhaj’s legal wife of 14 years, Hakima Ramzi. 

Investigators say the child was taken to the camp from Clayton County without his mother’s permission. Once inside the compound, the child died after he was reportedly not given medications he took for seizures.

Attorneys for the group, who face no terrorism charges, have denied allegations they were plotting attacks, but said they were misunderstood because they’re black Muslims.

The FBI’s complaint lays out a variety of beliefs Leveille allegedly held:

  • That the boy, Abdul-Ghani, had originally been hers until Ramzi used “black magic” to steal him from her womb.
  • That, if rituals were performed on the 3-year-old, he would be cured of his medical ailments, including seizures. 
  • That, after Abdul-Ghani died, he would return as Jesus Christ and tell the group which “corrupt institutions to get rid of.”
  • That the Messiah and Antichrist would be coming around April.

The FBI complaint was filed after local New Mexico charges were dismissed against the group because of a missed deadline by prosecutors. The local district attorney has said he now intends to seek an indictment on child abuse charges.

Eleven other children were discovered living inside the compound but have been placed in state custody.

The complaint says it was Leveille who gave several of her armed co-defendants the order to stand down and not attack police who were raiding the ramshackle compound on Aug. 3. It charges Leveille with being in possession of firearms while in the country illegally and claims her accomplices in that crime were Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, and Lucas Morton, 40. The Wahhajs are siblings, and Morton is married to Subhanah Wahhaj.

In the complaint, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Leveille’s Islamic husband, is accused of speaking about Jihad and starting an army to kill in Allah’s name, with Leveille working to recruit others. It also says Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was well-trained in a variety of militaristic practices, including with firearms and with hand-to-hand combat.

He allegedly called himself “The Messenger,” and Leveille is accused of believing she was interpreting messages from above, documenting them in journals that authorities found on the site.

In the journals, she spoke of Abdul-Ghani’s death, which kids on the compound believed happened when he stopped breathing during a ritual in February. However, Leveille’s journals suggest the death was actually around Christmas Eve, which fits more closely with the timeline told to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Leveille’s brother, who lives in Haiti but said he spoke with his sister every day she was at the compound.

The brother, Von Chelet Leveille, said the group placed the body of the boy in a tunnel on the site and checked regularly to see if the body had come back to life yet.

Abdul-Ghani was discovered by authorities in the tunnel on what would’ve been his 4th birthday, Aug. 6. He was buried late last month on the south side of Atlanta. after a service at a DeKalb County mosque.

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