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He added: "The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer".

These are a sheriff's descriptions of a property that officers raided last week in rural Amalia, New Mexico, according to court documents, in what started as an investigation into a man's alleged abduction of his son, then 3, in Georgia past year. The group told police they were headed to New Mexico to go camping, and continued on their way. The three and two other adults also arrested - Lucas Morten and Jany Leveille - are accused of keeping the children in an underground trailer with virtually no food or water.

Not among them was 3-year-old AG Wahhaj, whose mother reported him missing from Georgia's Clayton County, officials said. "And Then we took the property back under control and executed that search warrant yesterday".

No one was injured in the all-day operation, according to the sheriff's office. Armed with a search warrant, the officers found five adults, including Wahhaj, and 11 children at the compound.

The children were taken into protective custody and later handed over to the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department when agents arrived on scene a few hours later.

Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said they were "the saddest living conditions and poverty" he has seen in 30 years on the job.

The sheriff said authorities returned to the compound after interviews Friday and Saturday.

Police arrested both men.

Pictured are (left to right) Lucas Morton, Siraj Wahhaj, Subhannah Wahhaj, Jany Leveille and Hujrah Wahhaj BELOW: The Taos County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation use shovels to search a compound north of Amalia and near the Colorado border Monday.

The three women were also arrested over the weekend, and all five adults have been charged with child abuse, third-degree felonies, for allegedly exposing the children to unsafe conditions at the compound. "Each count is a third-degree felony".

All five adults are in custody in the Taos Adult Detention Center.

It was not immediately clear Sunday if either had retained an attorney.

Wahhaj was scheduled to make his first appearance in Taos Magistrate Court Tuesday.

(Taos County Sheriff's Department via AP).

Three women, believed to be the mothers of the children, were detained and later released.

Morten was additionally charged with harbouring a fugitive, and Wahhaj was held, without bail, over the Georgia arrest warrant for child abduction.

The FBI provided information and surveillance on the spot but "didn't feel there was enough probable cause to get on the property", Mr Hogrefe said.

A message from inside the compound to detective read "we are starving and need food and water".

Hogrefe, in an August 4 statement, said that officials found the "occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief". A 4-year-old boy last seen in Alabama in December traveling with one of the men who was arrested has not been found.

Badger explained that a dispute regarding the alleged squatters began in January, but once he learned children were living at the property, he attempted to find an amicable solution.

He also says he never met the three women living at the site and doesn't recall seeing the boy who remains missing. The mother said her son left to go to the park with his father, Siraj Wahhaj, on November 30.

The adults are facing child abuse charges.

His son, Abdul-ghani, who was 3 when he disappeared last December, was not among the children found.