SANTA FE – A special prosecutor has been appointed to lead a case involving a New Mexico sheriff accused of showing up drunk to a SWAT standoff.
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office named this week Andrea Reeb, the district attorney in the 9th Judicial District in Clovis, as a special prosecutor in the case against Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
A criminal complaint filed in March said Lujan, in plainclothes, attempted to take over the scene involving a barricaded subject in Española.
Española Police Chief Richard Jimenez wrote that officers reported Lujan smelled of alcohol and ignored commands to leave the “kill zone” in front of the house of the barricaded subject.
Lujan told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the accusations in the criminal complaint are false.
Matt Baca, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the agency decided to pass on the Lujan case because it is currently prosecuting charges against a former Rio Arriba County deputy accused of using a stun gun against a student at Española Valley High School.
The case against former Deputy Jeremy Barnes could involve the sheriff, who allowed Barnes to remain on active duty and defended his actions after the incident, which drew widespread outrage and litigation.
Baca said the Attorney General’s Office appointed Reeb as a special prosecutor “to ensure an effective, independent prosecution of the Lujan matter while we move forward with the Jeremy Barnes prosecution.”
Reeb filed the Lujan case Tuesday in the 1st Judicial District Court and said she will travel to Rio Arriba County for court proceedings.