The Sun God Lodge at the south end of Taos shut its doors this year in preparation for renovations, but its rooms haven't stayed empty.
On contract with the owner of the property, deputies from the Taos County Sheriff's Office arrived outside the motel shortly after noon Thursday (April 19) to knock on doors and warn tenants they would have to produce documentation of their right to reside there or leave the premises.
Taos Police Chief David Trujillo brought about a dozen of his own officers to provide support during the search, which he said had been granted through a signed agreement obtained by the sheriff's office.
As his deputies carried out the sweep, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that he was approached by the owner of the property on Wednesday regarding concerns about trespassers.
"The owner has had multiple ongoing issues," Hogrefe said, "but the biggest problem right now is that he has people residing here that are unauthorized."
Hogrefe said the owner had hired one individual, whom Hogrefe did not identify, to oversee security and maintenance of the property.
Everyone else, Hogrefe said, likely had no legal right to be there.
"These people that are staying here have no leases, no rental agreement, no right to be on this property," Hogrefe said.
While law enforcement had not placed anyone under arrest, they were documenting everyone at the property and checking them for outstanding warrants.
Wanted individuals have been known to frequent the area of the Sun God Lodge since the motel's closure in January.
Last Friday (April 13), sheriff's deputies and police approached Gary Medina Jr. and Sonya Venegas, who had allegedly been staying at the motel. Both individuals had outstanding warrants and fled the area, but were quickly placed under arrest.
Reporter Cody Hooks contributed to this report.