Española police arrested Rio Arriba County Undersheriff Martin Trujillo the afternoon of Aug. 14, after he was charged with criminal solicitation to commit assisting in assault upon a peace officer.
The charge is a fourth degree felony and arose from the May 21 arrest of County Sheriff James Lujan.
“On May 21, 2020, Martin Trujillo used his position of power as Undersheriff of Rio Arriba County to command his Deputies to commit aggravated assault on Peace Officers during the execution of their legal duties,” states the affidavit for the arrest warrant.
That day, Española Police and Taos County Sheriff’s deputies secured the area around the Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Department, where they served a search warrant on Lujan for a cell phone and then later arrested him when he refused to comply with the stipulations in the warrant and physically resisted arrest.
Trujillo showed up on the scene as the officers were addressing Lujan.
Trujillo instructed the Rio Arriba deputies who were present to form a perimeter around the Taos deputies and Española officers and point their guns at them, according to a review of lapel video and the accounts of numerous Taos County Sheriff’s deputies, cited in the affidavit for the arrest warrant.
Española Police Officer Ernest Saucedo signed the affidavit, which was filed Friday and approved telephonically by Ninth Judicial District Attorney Andrea Reeb.
Reeb, who will be prosecuting Trujillo, is also handling the criminal case against Lujan.
“Undersheriff Trujillo’s actions triggered a response that could have escalated to a shootout between law enforcement agencies,” the affidavit states.
He also commanded deputies on patrol to return to the Department with an emergency code that required them to respond immediately with their lights and sirens activated, which endangered both the deputies and the public, the affidavit states.
“Based on the facts of the investigation, there is no justification or ‘acting in good faith’ for Martin Trujillo to command and authorize Rio Arriba Deputies to respond in a high-risk manner to a controlled scene and draw their weapons out and point them at fellow Police Officers,” Saucedo wrote in the affidavit
County Manager Tomas Campos declined to comment on the arrest, as did District Three County Commissioner Danny Garcia.
District One County Commissioner James Martinez wrote in a Tuesday text message that he wanted to assure County residents that the Sheriff’s Department will continue to provide “the needed services to ensure our public’s safety,” but he did not otherwise make clear what his position is on the fact that both the County Sheriff and Undersheriff have been charged with felonies.
District Two Commissioner Leo Jaramilllo did not return a request for comment.