Rio Arriba County Sheriff Appears In Magistrate Court On Latest Charges



Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan was released on his own recognizance from Los Alamos County Detention Center Friday morning following a hearing before Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados on two counts of resisting, evading or obstructing an officer – service of process.

The charges, filed in Espanola Magistrate Court, are in connection with an attempt Thursday morning by Espanola Police Department officers accompanied by Taos County Deputies to execute a search warrant for a cell phone belonging to Lujan.

Thursday’s search warrant was in connection with an investigation into separate charges filed in April after Lujan showed up to an Espanola Police Department standoff and told the officers he was communicating with the suspect, Philip Chacon and tried to take charge of the scene. Lujan was also charged with resisting, evading or obstructing an officer – obstruction of process in that case which is now in District Court.

Lujan, wearing orange detention center clothing and handcuffed, was accompanied in Court by his attorney Nathaniel V. Thompkins. Lujan’s wife and other family members were present in Court as well as Rio Arriba County Undersheriff Martin Trujillo.

Lujan waived his first appearance and Judge Casados set conditions of release. Casados first told Lujan he could not have firearms in his possession but Thompkins told the Court that would be a problem for Lujan in his work. Judge Casados said she understands he is an officer, that it does worry her, but she that Lujan could have a weapon in his possession “only at work”.

Judge Casados also told Lujan he could not drink alcohol and told him any alcohol in his home would have to be removed. Thompkins said Lujan would need to be able to enter a liquor establishment for work purposes and again Casados agreed to allow him to do that for work purposes only. Lujan was also ordered to have no contact with victims or anyone who might testify in the case.

Judge Casados said after she faxed the paperwork to the Espanola Magistrate Court, Lujan would be released from the detention center. Lujan was transported to LADC late Thursday afternoon.