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Some conservatives are calling conspiracy after child abuse charges against three individuals suspected of training children for school shootings at a New Mexico compound were dropped over procedural errors.
The decision outraged those on both sides of the political aisle. And it stirred some prominent conservative pundits to question out loud whether there might be more to the situation than just a technicality.
In early August, authorities raided a compound in New Mexico, rescuing 11 children. Five adults were arrested, but this week, charges against three were not filed in the appropriate time frame.
Now, conservatives online think something is up.
The story of the New Mexico compound is growing suspicious:— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) August 30, 2018
-Children were being trained to commit school shootings
-The terrorists were planning to shoot up a hospital in Atlanta.
-The compound was destroyed by unidentified authorities.
-The judge released them on bond.
Something very weird is happening in New Mexico.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) August 29, 2018
This is going to sound crazy. But I think FBI is training jihadis with hopes that they attack Americans so that the Democrats call for more gun control.
They destroyed the compound & are letting the suspects go.
Think about it.
Why would they destroy the compound? How did nobody notice a giant compound in the desert? How come Islamic suspects are getting away with planning an attack on Americans? How come the FBI won’t hold a press conference? How come the FBI always seems to have advance knowledge?— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) August 29, 2018
On that thread of doubt, whole communities of right-wing conspiracy theorists have been hanging a developing theory of a deep state, false-flag terrorism operation.
The theory, which is still finding itself, is that the FBI was running an operation to train Muslims to commit terrorist attacks in the U.S. To what end is unclear.
It hinges on the destruction of the compound camp by authorities just three days after the raid and the failure to bring a preliminary hearing in the 10-day window required by state law. Prosecutors said that they had expected the suspects to have been released, which would have given them more time to bring charges.
One particular thread manages to tie a suspect to CNN, blasting the news network as the “sponsors” of the alleged operation.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and four other adults were arrested in early August after a law enforcement raid on their compound premises. Law enforcement rescued 11 malnourished children when raiding the property.
Members of the group were alleged to have conducted weapons training with the children with the aim of carrying out acts of terror and were charged with child abuse.
Wahhaj, 39, was also discovered to be the father of missing three-year-old Georgia boy Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, whose remains were found and identified by investigators at the property.
The charges of felony child abuse were dropped against all five adults on Wednesday over a New Mexico state law that requires a preliminary hearing within 10 days of arrest.
Could prosecutors in #NewMexico have messed up the case more against the suspects being charged for child abuse, and accussed of being Muslim Extremists? They missed a deadline, so the court dropped charges against 3 of them. Their compound was not secured. #9news— Gary Shapiro (@GShapiro9News) August 30, 2018
The conspiracy, though, of the government allowing the suspects to get away, may not hold up.
Although free of the initial child abuse charges, both Wahhaj and his partner, Jany Leveille, were arraigned in connection with the death of their son. Each defendant pleaded not guilty and will have a bail hearing on Tuesday.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.