lujan arrested thumbs up

Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan gave a thumbs up to reporters May 21, 2020 as he was led into the holding cells at the Española Police Department.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s deputies clasped hands outside the County Sheriff’s Office in Española Thursday afternoon, bowed their heads and prayed. 

Hours earlier, their leader, County Sheriff James Lujan, was handcuffed.

Española Police and the Taos County Sheriff’s Office arrested Lujan Thursday morning for failing to comply with the stipulations of a search warrant and for physically resisting arrest, Española police public information officer Sgt. Jeremy Apodaca said.

Apodaca said he could not specify how exactly Lujan did not comply with the search warrant.

It required that Lujan turn over a mystery cell phone to the police.

The warrant was issued after Lujan did eventually comply with prior orders that he hand over two other cell phones. The orders, approved by Ninth Judicial District Attorney Andrea Reeb, stem from an investigation into a misdemeanor charge against Lujan for resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

Reeb, whom Attorney General Hector Balderas appointed as special prosecutor in the case, said in a Thursday phone call that investigators realized the first two cell phones may not have been the ones they were looking for. 

They noticed Lujan talking on a third cell phone after he turned the first two in, and they also noticed that he was talking on that third cell phone in lapel videos filmed prior to the first search warrant.

“Which means he did not give us that phone,” Reeb said. “We thought we had the phones, but then we were like, ‘Wait, I don’t think he gave us the right phone.’ He did have some time in there where he was not being watched properly.”

She said she did not know which phones Lujan gave the officers, but that she will know when investigators download all three phones.

She asked for the phones to begin with because she wants to know whether there is any pattern in Lujan’s alleged obstructions of investigations: in March, he showed up to an Española Police Department standoff in everyday clothes and allegedly drunk, told officers he was communicating with the person they were trying to arrest, former Española city councilor Philip Chacon, and tried to take control of the situation; and in May, he showed up when Española Police were trying to serve a search warrant on Española City Councilor John Ramon Vigil and Vigil was not coming out of his house.

Española Police had not called Lujan to either scene and felt he was obstructing their efforts.

After police found text and Facebook messages and emails between Vigil and Chacon, who is charged with the March 21 stabbing of Jacob Smith, they also charged Vigil with three counts of felony bribery and a misdemeanour count of refusing to aid an officer.

Reeb said she wants to examine the nature of Lujan’s communication, if any, with Vigil and Chacon in case there is a connection or a pattern.

The Thursday resisting charge is being added to the obstruction case.

As of Thursday afternoon, Española Police were planning to transport Lujan to a housing facility but did not specify which facility.

County Manager Tomas Campos, County Sheriff Public Information Officer Capt. Lorenzo Aguilar, and Lujan’s attorney Nathaniel Thompkins all declined to comment on the matter.

Española Police Chief Roger Jimenez did not return a text and a call requesting comment before press time Thursday. 

As Española Police led Lujan from a police vehicle into the station, he gave reporters a thumbs up.


(6) comments

John Martinez

1983 Action (AKA Under Sheriff Trujillo) is still living in the 80's and can't get out.....if you had any sense you would know that the DA signs and initiates a Search Warrant and/or arrest. That LE Agency (Taos County SO) initiates said warrant and/or arrest with an other agency assisting that said warrant and/or arrest. Drain the swamp and get everyone out that goes against their oath to protect the constitution for the citizens of NM.


R. Holcomb

Can we just put a fence around Espanola so the rest of the state can drive by and show their kids what they shouldn’t grow up do be??

1983 Action

Interesting story. It will undoubtedly sell some papers.

The real coverage that the RGS should provide should delve into the actual motives that the Espanola "police" have in doing this, as well as investigate up the food chain at City Hall. This has little mayor Sanchez's fingerprints all over it. The mayor has a history of targeting those who merely disagree with him. He is threatened by anyone who disagrees with his narrow-minded points of view and his little elementary school speeches which he reads at every council meeting. His motivations are purely political and perhaps more personal, as evidenced by his vindictiveness.

This is clearly an orchestrated attempt to discredit Sheriff Lujan because of his adamant opposition to the acting police chief and the mayor's agenda to keep his boy in power.

Some areas which the RGS should follow up on:

1. What authority did Taos County have to enter Rio Arriba County to enforce the laws? Only the Sheriff of Rio Arriba County has the authority to "commission" them to do so. The city has NO such authority. Can you say illegal arrest?

2. All of the sudden, the City police also "target" city councilors (Vigil, Salazar and Martinez) and accuse them of criminal and ethical wrongdoing. Remember, These are but some of the councilors whom have opposed the mayor's appointment of the crooked and unqualified acting chief Jimenez.

Jimenez wants to look like the boy hero to the mayor, and is now abusing his badge and his power to target political opponents. If he was worth even a grain of salt as a police officer, he would have had another police agency do the investigations. But no, he's emboldened by his special relationship with the mayor and abuses his power just like is done in a banana republic!

3. Speaking of a banana republic, let's talk about the city's own "media" outlet. Your former reporter (now become blogger) happens to coincidentally get the "scoop" on every story involving these "investigations" into the councilors and the sheriff? Why? Because she's on the payroll--paid by the mayor and the police department. That's why she's at ever scene, get's exclusive footage and drives the agenda of the mayor and his boy. Pretty clever, right?

RGS: Peel back the onion and you will find some real crimes, not the fabricated misdemeanors charged against the sheriff and not the ridiculous felony charges filed against councilor Vigil.

At the end of the day, these "cases" will be thrown out and the city will pay millions in damages to Sheriff Lujan and the councilors for their abuses of power.

So, enjoy the salacious "stories" for the time being. The truth will come out soon and the real criminals exposed! Make sure and cover those stories very well Mr. Trapp!


Roger Jimenez is good man I swear the baby/b***h like performance of "little jimmy". he would have not been nominated for an Emmy. He deserves everything he has going to him. Karma "little jimmy Idiot lujan". Hope you re.ember me. You will not be re-elected, if I can help it


I guess Lujan did not learn from his predecessor, Mr. Rodella, a current TX resident.

Evil gringo watching this clown car careen and burst into flames. Better than a novella

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