Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

11 children found in squalid compound near New Mexico/Colorado state line

11 children found in squalid compound near New Mexico/Colorado state line

Police found many more ammo rounds in the ramshackle hideout, they said, which they described as "a small travel trailer buried in the ground covered by plastic with no water, plumbing, or electricity".

The men had refused to follow verbal direction, police said, who added the raid went without major incident or injuries even as Wahhaj needed to be 'taken down'. The sheriff likened the appearance of the children to refugees from impoverished or war-torn countries.

Eight members of TCSO's Sheriff's Response Team and the State OSI Unit executed a search warrant on the compound on Friday after a message that was forwarded to the office by a Georgia detective.

The search stemmed from an investigation involving the Taos County Sheriff's Office, the FBI and Clayton County, Georgia, authorities, Hogrefe said in a statement. However, they did find 11 other children.

Hogrefe says they were the saddest living conditions he's ever seen. "I don't know his condition", said Hakima Ramzi in a tearful Facebook Live video in January pleading for the return of her son who she said had physical and mental disabilities. The warrant was the culmination of a two-month investigation in conjunction with law enforcement from Georgia and the FBI. Three women also believed to be the children's mothers were also detained. He is wanted in connection with the abduction of his son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, in Jonesboro, after the boy's mother reported him missing.

But one child could not be found: Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, a toddler who was reported missing from his Georgia home by his mother on December 10, 2017.

The sheriff said one of the women is pregnant and that the 11 children on the property were in very poor health, KRQE reports. None of the adults said anything about the boy's whereabouts, the sheriff's office said.

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However, 11 other children, ranging in age from 1 to 15, were removed and taken into protective custody. On Sunday, Hogrefe said arrest warrants charging 11 counts of child abuse had been served on the five adults.

"It had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned two occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief", the sheriff said in a news release.

Authorities are continuing their search for a three-year-old Georgia boy whose father, who allegedly abducted him, was arrested Friday in what officials call a "third-world"-like New Mexico compound".

'The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer, ' Hogrefe said.

A spokesman for the Taos County sheriff's department said the department suspected the boy was at the compound, but didn't have enough evidence to go onto the property. Morten is charged with harboring a fugitive.

The women were detained, but later released, and the sheriff says they wouldn't talk to investigators.

Alabama police said they were told the group were going camping in New Mexico, the station said. He said none of the adults, even the women who are not being charged, would answer any questions about Abdul-Ghani, but they do believe he was there a few weeks ago.

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