FBI serves search warrant at sheriff’s residence

Rio Arriba county Sheriff Tommy Rodella's house

RIO ARRIBA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Exactly what the feds were looking for when at the home of Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella, isn’t clear.

But sources say the case involves the sheriff detaining a 26-year-old man three months ago.

The sheriff’s attorney released a statement late Wednesday night saying the sheriff didn’t do anything wrong that day on a rural New Mexico road.

The sheriff wouldn’t talk to KRQE News 13 on camera but he did do an interview with a local radio station.

The day after he lost the chance for re-election, the FBI served a search warrant in Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella’s home.

Hours later, the sheriff did a short interview with a local radio station but the radio interviewer didn’t ask him about the search.

A sheriff’s spokesperson confirmed the warrant is related to the arrest of 26-year-old Michael Tafoya back in March.

In court documents Rodella claims Tafoya almost hit him while he and his son were driving on a country road.

Rodella said when he told Tafoya he was the sheriff, Tafoya took off and almost hit him again.

Rodella says he eventually detained the driver until deputies arrived and arrested Tafoya for aggravated assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest.

The charges were later dropped.

It’s unclear what the feds were searching for or what they found in Rodella’s home.

We do know the U.S. Attorney’s office has subpoenaed the sheriff to appear next week before a grand jury looking into the case.

Last year the feds raided the sheriff’s office after claims Rodella was taking donations to a scholarship fund in exchange for dismissing charges.

In an earlier investigation, state police took files and computers from the sheriff’s office as part of a probe into the handling of a deadly DWI case.

Despite all this the sheriff plans to stick around for awhile.

In his statement Wednesday Rodella questioned the timing of the new search because he had recently been commenting about the other FBI investigation into the scholarship fund.

When Rodella appears in front of a grand jury next week the U.S. Attorneys Office asked that he bring case evidence including any audio and video recordings from the arrest involving Tafoya.

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