Taos compound leader pleads guilty to federal charges

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TAOS, N.M. — One of the Taos compound defendants – in New Mexico’s first and only federal terrorism case – has reached a plea agreement.

The woman the feds called the ring leader of a terrorism plot to attack so-called “corrupt institutions” now appears to be the first one in line for justice.

A plea agreement filed Friday in federal court for Jany Leveille outlines what she is admitting to. The agreement does not include terrorism charges, instead, Leveille is admitting to conspiracy to commit an offense against the U.S. and illegally possessing a firearm.

Leveille, a Haitian immigrant, had allowed her visa to expire. In 2018, the state failed to detain the “Taos Five” on child abuse charges – but the feds moved quickly on gun charges. It is illegal for undocumented immigrants to possess firearms, and that is what initially led to their arrest.

Nearly five years later, the plea agreement filing shows Lucas Morton and Siraj Wahhaj trained people, including Leveille’s own children, to use firearms and tactical maneuvers. They did so with Leveille’s knowledge and permission.

It was the claim that the Taos Five were training their children to carry out school shootings that caught the nation’s attention.

Now, a statement from Leveille’s attorney says:

“…This was a difficult decision for Ms. Leveille, but one that ends the litigation in her case. She looks forward to moving forward, preparing for the sentencing hearing, and reuniting with her family.”

Leveille is looking at a maximum of 15 years in federal prison for the two offenses, but also faces potential deportation. However, there is one very big caveat to this deal.

This is contingent on the other defendants entering guilty pleas on their cases. If, at any time, any of the other defendants do not enter pleas, the U.S. may pull this plea agreement.