ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – First, it was the sheriff. Now, the Rio Arriba County Undersheriff could be facing charges. The District Attorney’s Office is being asked to look into whether the Undersheriff committed criminal acts when officers were trying to serve a search warrant on his boss.
Back in May, Rio Arriba Sheriff James Lujan was arrested after refusing to comply with a search warrant asking him to turn over his cell phone. Lujan is accused of interfering in the criminal cases involving Española City Councilor John Vigil, and a man with a long criminal record, Phillip Chacon.
During Lujan’s arrest by Española Police officers, Undersheriff Martin Trujillo showed up. He didn’t make it easy for officers to do their job and made it clear he wasn’t happy with what was going on by making several demands.
His presence and actions that day sparked a letter from the Attorney General’s Office. The letter is addressed to the District Attorney in Clovis.
The AG’s Office says Undersheriff Trujillo may have committed criminal acts during the search warrant. The letter goes on to say Trujillo may have directed his deputies to point their guns at officers executing the warrant.
Lapel video from Española Police that day shows a number of deputies and officers holding guns during the incident. It’s unclear, though, which officers from which agency were pointing guns at who. The AG’s Office says it’s appointing the DA, a special prosecutor, to investigate and pursue any potential charges against Trujillo.
At this point, Sheriff Lujan is facing charges for two separate incidents, for refusing to hand over his phone, a resisting charge. He also allegedly showed up drunk to a scene where his friend was the suspect. He’s been charged with bribery and harboring or aiding a felon in that case.