2 men arrested after 11 children found in ‘makeshift compound’ without food or fresh water


Lucas Morten and Siraj Wahhaj

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TAOS COUNTY, N.M. – Two men were arrested after 11 children were found in a “makeshift compound” in New Mexico without food or fresh water.

Lucas Morten and Siraj Wahhaj, 39, both of Georgia, were taken into custody after deputies executed a search warrant at the property in Amalia on Friday, according to the Taos County Sheriff’s Office.

The victims ranged from 1 to 15 years old and have since been placed in the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department, according to deputies.

Deputies said three women believed to be the children’s mothers were also detained and later released.

“The only food We saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer,” said Tao County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe, in a statement. “But what was most surprising, and heartbreaking was when the team located a total of five adults and 11 children that looked like third world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing.”

Wahhaj had been wanted for child abduction. Authorities are still looking for a 3-year-old child from Georgia who was not there.

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