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Tierra Amarilla jail swept for drugs

SANTA FE – The Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office took over the county jail in Tierra Amarilla Tuesday afternoon in a search for drugs and drug trafficking, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Jake Arnold

The raid was undertaken about 1 p.m. with a search warrant signed by District Judge Sheri Raphaelson. The warrant request was based on information about drug trafficking at the jail from confidential informants, Arnold said.

Rio Arriba County Manager Tomas Campos III disputed that the jail was taken over and questioned the need for a warrant. “We would have let him search it without the warrant,” Campos said. “I don’t know what he’s (Sheriff Tommy Rodella) up to.”

Arnold said Campos wasn’t knowledgeable on the law and a search warrant was required.

Arnold said deputies had recovered some apparent contraband by mid-afternoon and that the entire jail was on lockdown. Arnold said he couldn’t comment on a TV report that Rodella had said the sheriff’s office had indications that jail guards were involved.

Campos said the deputies hadn’t “found much of anything,” attributing his information to jail personnel.

He said he got a call from a jail administrator at about 1 p.m. informing him of the search warrant. He said he told the administrator “OK, let him in,” and that jail personnel were cooperating with the search.

Arnold said State Police was assisting in the operation and that the state Corrections Department was sending in a team with drug-sniffing dogs. He said the operation had been in planning for several months.

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