Doña Ana County jail director resigns after drug charges

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The man in charge of running the Doña Ana County Detention Center has resigned, according to a spokesperson with the county.

As NewsChannel 9 first reported, Chris Barela was previously charged with buying drugs from undercover agents. 

Those charges were filed on July 14.

According to the county spokesperson, Barela had been on paid leave but resigned Aug. 30.

This comes more than a year after Barela was arrested for charges of $20,000 dollars in fraud, embezzlement, bringing contraband into the jail and willful neglect of duty.

Those charges were later dismissed by prosecutors due to a lack of evidence. 

According to court records, the new charges accuse Barela of buying marijuana from undercover agents through a Facebook account.

According to online records, Barela has pleaded not guilty during his initial appearances.
He's currently facing four counts of buying marijuana, all misdemeanors.

His next court date is Sept. 25, according to court records.

Barela previously spent about four months on paid administrative leave in 2016 after he was arrested by deputies with the sheriff's department.

Eventually, Barela sued the county for the sheriff's department's action and received a $200,000 settlement.

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