WATCH: New Mexico Sheriff Arrested for Obstruction of Justice

Keith Palmer

A New Mexico sheriff was arrested in front of his own deputies for allegedly not complying with a search warrant .

Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan now knows what it feels like to be arrested. Lujan was arrested in Rio Arriba, New Mexico on May 21, charged with failing to comply with a search warrant and for physically resisting arrest.

Española Police say they had a warrant for Sheriff Lujan’s personal and work cell phones because they say it may have evidence of him interfering with criminal cases, involving Española City Councilor John Vigil and a man with a history of arrests, Phillip Chacon.

KOAT News reports that in March 2020 Lujan arrived at a SWAT scene at the home of Chacon; officers were arresting Chacon after he was accused of stabbing a man. Lujan is accused of telling Española officers he was texting with Chacon during the standoff and that he was no longer inside the house.

Police say Lujan showed up to that crime scene in plain clothes, allegedly smelling of alcohol, distracting officers and refusing to leave. Lujan was charged with resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

Two search warrants were then executed on Lujan on May 14 by the Española Police Department. The search warrants requested the personal and work cell phones of Lujan. All search warrants issued for Lujan's phones were approved by 9th Judicial District Attorney Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.

Lujan provided both phones, but the arrest came after Espanola police and the district attorney noticed Lujan had a third cell phone that he didn't hand over to investigators, hence allegedly violating the search warrants.

So on May 21 Española Police and the Taos County Sheriff’s Office arrested Lujan at the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Office.

After Lujan was arrested, more than 10 deputies were seen huddled, holding hands, and kneeling in prayer. Watch the video below.

Comments (5)
No. 1-3
Think 4 urself
Think 4 urself

He was arrested because he refused to unlock the 3rd phone, not because he didn't provide the 3rd phone when he was served a search warrant for the 2 original phones. If that was the case, he and the under sheriff would have been facing obstruction charges for hiding the 2 original phones. Go watch the body cam videos of the arrest day. The search warrants were to seize the phones to protect any evidence, not to search them. They need another warrant to do that. They cannot compel him to unlock it, because that would violate his 5th amendment right.

Diamonddiva1954
Diamonddiva1954

Instead of kneeling in prayer, they should be applauding. Leaving ONE dirty cop in a police or sheriff's dep't taints them all. It makes us feel (quite reasonably) that there's different justice for LEOs than for US.

supervisionrequired
supervisionrequired

"Obstruction of Justice" the typical contempt of cop charge. it nice to see dirty cops are not immune from other dirty cops arresting dirty cops. he must NOT be part of the blue lies mafia.

2 Replies

Tatoo49
Tatoo49

Almost guarantee that little to nothing comes of this. Headlines today, gone tomorrow.

supervisionrequired
supervisionrequired

almost! i think the worst he will get is fired and the usual wrist slap. he looks old enough to retire. so him being a gypsy cop probably wont happen.....


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