Woman Arrested At Suspected Jihadi Compound Overstayed Visa, Has Been Illegally Present For 20 Years

Will Racke | Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

One of the suspects arrested at a suspected Muslim “extremist” compound in New Mexico is a longtime illegal immigrant from Haiti who overstayed a visitor visa, immigration authorities said Wednesday.

Jany Leveille, 35, was arrested along with four other people on Aug. 4 when state and local police raided the makeshift compound in rural Amalia, New Mexico. Police officers discovered a total of two men, three women and 11 children living in squalid conditions and allegedly training for some kind of mass shooting, according to New Mexico state prosecutors.

On Tuesday morning, Leveille was transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pursuant to an Aug. 8 immigration detention request, said ICE spokesperson Leticia Zamarripa.

“ICE issued her a notice to appear before a federal immigration judge, and she remains in ICE custody pending resolution of her immigration proceedings,” Zamarripa told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Leveille has been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 20 years after overstaying the validity of her non-immigrant visitor visa.”

Prior to Leveille’s immigration detention, New Mexico judge Judge Sarah Backus ordered Leveille and the four other defendants — Siraj Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhannah Wahhaj and Lucas Morten — to be released from state custody on a $20,000 signature bond.

Prosecutors alleged that all five suspects were giving firearms training to the children at the compound “in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school shootings.” An FBI agent further testified that one of the children told him other prospective targets would include “the financial system, law enforcement, the education system.”

Even so, Backus said New Mexico state prosecutors had failed to show that the defendants posed a threat to the community and should be denied bail. She also chided prosecutors for seemingly asking her to take into account the suspects’ Muslim faith in making a bail determination. (RELATED: Judge In New Mexico Compound Case Accuses Prosecutors Of Anti-Muslim Discrimination)

Siraj Wahhaj, the son of a prominent Brooklyn imam of the same name, will remain in custody pursuant to a Georgia warrant stemming from allegations that he kidnapped his 4-year-old son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, in December.

During a search of the compound on Aug. 9, police discovered the body of a young boy buried in a tunnel on the property. Investigators believe the remains are those of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, but say it could take weeks to make a positive identification.

Prosecutors allege Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who suffered from severe medical problems, died during an exorcism ritual conducted by his father.

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