VIDEO: Rio Arriba County Sheriff arrested for refusing to comply to search warrant

New Mexico News

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – After refusing to comply with a search warrant, Española Police arrested the Rio Arriba County Sheriff on Thursday. Now, newly released police video shows how it happened.

It was a chaotic scene at the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office. With the help of the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, Española Police, once again, went to serve Sheriff James Lujan with a search warrant for his cell phone.

Police say Lujan’s phone could have evidence of him interfering with criminal cases involving Española City Councilor John Vigil, and a man with a long criminal record, Phillip Chacon. Video shows officers got a hold of Lujan’s phone, but even after Lujan handed it over, police still needed him to unlock it.

Sheriff: I will if I get a chance to talk to my attorney.
Detective: It doesn’t work like that. This is not a negotiation.

The sheriff continued to refuse to comply with what officers asked him to do.

Sheriff: I’m invoking my right to an attorney right now. Do you understand that?
Detective: Okay. Take him and book him.
Sheriff: Book me for what?
Detective: For obstruction.

Cuffed and now arrested, Lujan made it clear he was uncomfortable.

Sheriff: Can you move these (cuffs) to the front?
Detective: No, sir. It’s against department policy.
Sheriff: Well it’s tighter than hell. They hurt.
Detective: Sheriff, those are very very loose.

Meanwhile, Undersheriff Martin Trujillo got to the scene and was denied access into the sheriff’s office.

Intern Police Chief Roger Jimenez then shows up and has a heated conversation with the Undersheriff.

Chief: You know how it goes. You know how it goes. We’re doing our law enforcement duties. That’s it. District Court signed it. That’s it.
Undersheriff: Okay.
Chief: So when we’re done, we’ll get out of your hair. Why are you calling everybody here to get them involved?
Undersheriff: This is our house.
Chief: Well, right now it’s ours.
Officer: We own the building right now.
Undersheriff: Shut up.

Espanola Police quickly cleared the scene. Lujan was slapped with two charges of resisting, evading, or obstructing an officer. He has already been released from jail.

Lujan also faces charges for another incident back in March. He’s accused of showing up to a police SWAT situation smelling of alcohol, and refusing to leave the scene.

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