Authorities found what Mr Hogrefe called "the saddest living conditions and poverty" he has seen in 30 years on the job.
The sheriff described the conditions at the property as "filthy" and said its residents were poorly clothed, without shoes, and appeared to have had access to a limited food supply, consisting of "a few potatoes and a box of rice".
Eleven children were found living in squalor in what Taos County authorities are calling a "makeshift compound" near the New Mexico/Colorado state line.
The sheriff said the 11 children were turned over to state child-welfare workers.
Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation and subsequent search, including the FBI, Taos County Sheriff's Office and police in Clayton County, Georgia, according to the Associated Press report.
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The men at first refused to follow verbal direction, police said, who added the raid went without major incident or injuries.
FBI investigators had reason to believe that Wahhaj was occupying the compound with Morten and others, but they didn't feel there was enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant.
Following a two-month investigation into a missing 3-year-old boy, a search warrant was executed at the makeshift compound in the Costilla Meadows subdivision Friday morning.
".it had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief", he said.
Even though young Abdul was reported missing, there was no child abduction warrant against Wahhaj because he was married to his son's mother - meaning they both had equal custody of the boy, Clayton County police said.
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The discovery was prompted by a months-long search for a three-year-old child, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who went missing in Atlanta, Georgia, in November. Investigators believe the women are the mothers of the children.
It was not immediately known Monday whether Wahhaj and the others charged in the child abuse case in New Mexico -another man and three women believed to be the mother of the 11 children - had retained attorneys.
Clayton County police said in a missing persons bulletin that Wahhaj and his son were last seen December 13 in Alabama, traveling with five other children and two adults.
The men at the compound are in custody. "So please, please, I need your help to find my husband and my son", she said through tears.
Instead, deputies found five adults and 11 other children who "looked like third-world country refugees", living in squalor with little food and no clean water, according to Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe. "The Alabama officer who talked to the group after the accident said they 'indicated that they were traveling to New Mexico for a camping trip'".
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And two men, including the missing boy's father, were found armed to the hilt with a cache of weapons and ammo, the Taos County Sheriff's Office said.