FBI searches Rio Arriba County sheriff's home

Posted at: 06/04/2014 11:13 AM
Updated at: 06/04/2014 10:48 PM
By: Ryan Luby, Nikki Ibarra and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

FBI agents executed a search warrant at the home of Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella Wednesday morning. This, in connection to the arrest of a man who claims Rodella lied about what happened in March.

Michael Tafoya told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that he contacted the FBI after he was arrested for aggravated assault on a peace officer and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to the criminal complaint, Rodella said Tafoya backed out his car in front of him, almost causing a collision. Rodella stated he pursued Tafoya down a dirt road to a dead end. Rodella said Tafoya almost ran over him when he got out of his vehicle and identified himself as sheriff.

But Tafoya says the sheriff's version of the story is not true.

"He was tailgating me," he said. "I've never been in trouble, ever. What really upsets me is they made me seem like a really bad person and I had never really gotten in trouble."

Tafoya said Rodella and his son, Thomas Rodella, Jr., pulled him out of his car and to the ground.

"I finally asked him, 'If you're the sheriff, can I see your badge?' And so he pulls out his badge and says, 'You want to see my badge?' And he grabs me by my hair and he says 'Here's my badge (expletive).'"

Tafoya was able to bond out of jail after a few days. He called the FBI and reported the incident.

"I tried to do everything I could to get someone to hear my story. I was done an injustice," he said.

According to Frank Fisher with the FBI in Albuquerque, the search of Rodella's home was related to an ongoing federal investigation.

"Pursuant to U.S. Department of Justice policy, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office cannot comment on the nature of investigation at this time," Fisher wrote.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff spokesman Jake Arnold confirmed to the Associated Press that the search of Rodella's home was connected to Tafoya's arrest. 

Stay with KOB.com for updates.