The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Reeb to act as special prosecutor in Rio Arriba cases


Last updated 8/15/2020 at 1:57pm

ESPANOLA — Clovis-area District Attorney Andrea Reeb will act as a special prosecutor in cases against the Rio Arriba sheriff and undersheriff in the First Judicial District.

Sheriff James Lujan, 59, is facing charges of bribery of a witness and harboring or aiding a felon.

Undersheriff Martin Trujillo, 53, is facing a charge of criminal solicitation to commit assisting in the assault upon a peace officer. The Northern New Mexico Independent reported Trujillo turned himself in on the charge Friday evening.

According to court documents:

n On March 14, 2017, an officer with the Espanola Police Department noticed a white Dodge truck in the department parking lot that fit the description of a vehicle detailed in a recent officer safety bulletin.

The truck left the parking lot at a high rate of speed, and the officer pursued. The pursuit ended near city limits due to danger to residents. The truck’s driver, identified as Phillip Chacon, contacted dispatch to claim he was being illegally pursued and wished to talk to the New Mexico State Police.

Lujan told one of his deputies the EPD needed to stop harassing Chacon. Lujan later visited Chacon at his home and helped him gather some belongings, and the two left in Lujan’s patrol vehicle with Lujan knowing the EPD was attempting to locate Chacon.

Chacon was taken into custody the next day in Santa Fe on a warrant for aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer.

A senior investigator with the NMSP was assigned to the incident on May 20. Officers who spoke to investigators said they didn’t report the incident immediately because they feared retaliation from Lujan.

Reeb was appointed special prosecutor in June.

n On May 21, EPD officers were executing a search warrant on Lujan at the Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Office, and were joined by a SWAT team from the Taos County Sheriff’s Office.

Trujillo arrived to the office and was instructed to stay outside a security perimeter established around the office. Trujillo instructed deputies to return to the station with a 10-33 — an impending threat that would require lights and sirens activated.

When the deputies arrived, Trujillo instructed them to set up their own perimeter and point their weapons at the EPD and TCSO members. Taos Undersheriff Steve Miera ordered a third perimeter in response to Trujillo’s orders before Espanola officers de-escalated the situation.

Three of the Rio Ariba deputies who were unaware of the circumstance Lujan dispatched them to have filed tort claims against Lujan, alleging there was no justification for the call or the ensuing orders.

n Court records do not have any scheduled hearings listed for either Lujan or Trujillo.


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