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Rio Arriba official’s house searched by attorney general

SANTA FE – Investigators from the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office have raided the home of Rio Arriba County Commissioner Barney Trujillo, according to Española’s weekly newspaper.

The Rio Grande Sun reports that the investigators, accompanied by State Police officers, showed up at Trujillo’s Chimayó house Friday morning to execute a search warrant. The newspaper’s website published a photo of an Attorney General’s Office investigator at Trujillo’s home.

James Hallinan, spokesman for the AG’s Office, said Friday that the office has a policy against confirming or denying ongoing investigations.

Efforts to reach Trujillo by phone and email Friday were unsuccessful. A woman called back on a number that Trujillo listed on campaign documents filed at the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, but she quickly hung up after asked if she was associated with Trujillo.

The AG Office’s interest in Trujillo, who’s in his second term as a county commissioner and was an unsuccessful candidate for a state House seat last year, has been documented in the past.

Early last year, the office filed a request to Rio Arriba County government under the state Inspection of Public Records Act for various documents, including any funds “expended by the County Commission or individual commissioners that are not standard operating expenses,” lobbying services and “County Commissioner Barney Trujillo’s County related activities,” according to a copy of the request obtained by the Journal.

Some of the requested documents related to a county-financed Chimayó playground or “beautification project” that led to charges against a local contractor, brought by the state Construction Industries Division, for contracting without a license.

Last week, the AG’s Office filed suit against Española Public Schools for its alleged failure to provide documents, including thousands of emails, also requested under IPRA. Among the records sought were 16 categories of documents relating to Trujillo or his company, formerly known as 2Smooth Marketing, seeking such things as invoices, purchase orders, work logs and bank statements. Since August 2014, Trujillo has held a $50,000-a-year, no-bid marketing contract with the school district.

The Sun also has reported that the AG’s Office executed a search warrant at the school district offices on Jan. 13. The warrant listed Trujillo and others as targets, but a 14-page probable cause statement used to obtain the warrant from a judge had been redacted, according to the Sun.