News obtained says this compound was similar to the terror cell’s desert compound in New Mexico that was raided last summer. Siraj Wahhaj and four others are now facing federal terrorism, kidnapping and firearms charges.
The property in question is located six miles from downtown Tuskegee. Drone footage we shot shows what the federal search warrant described as a “makeshift military style obstacle course” consisting of “five gallon buckets with chain link fencing over the top.” The search warrant says it “resembled an obstacle course similar to what the military uses to low crawl.”
Agents from the FBI Mobile field office also conducted aerial surveillance and says in its search warrant that the structure on this sight was “designed” the same way as the one in New Mexico. Both were “surrounded with hundreds of vehicle tires, assorted trash, and both structures have wooden pallets with clear plastic tarps draped over them.”
There was evidence small children lived at the Alabama compound. There were lots of old toys, dolls, and a girl’s bike. There was furniture inside the makeshift structure. A dresser and dining table all piled up, outside there were mattresses stacked up against it. And we noted a minivan with Georgia tags on site. We know from an accident report there were at least nine people, seven of them children with Wahhaj at the Alabama compound.
On another part of the two acre property, which records show is owned by Wahhaj, there’s an old mobile home, a shed and a school bus.
So why build a structure out of wood pallets and tires?
The search warrant notes the group worked for weeks at the Alabama property because they were trying to make an Earthship. According to the warrant, that’s a type of “passive solar” home that relies “on natural energy sources so they can be independent from the grid.” We noted a container on site that may have been used to collect rainwater for drinking. And we saw lots of glass beer bottles. Online articles we found on Earthships instruct people how to make walls out of glass bottles.
The search warrant notes the FBI seized electronic devices at the Alabama compound: a laptop, approximately 110 cd’s/dvd’s, a Kindle, and several phones. We reached out for comment on this case, a spokesperson for FBI Mobile told me it “can’t confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”