Dona Ana County official to resume work after charges tossed

LAS CRUCES (AP) – Dona Ana County’s jail administrator will be going back to work in the wake of dismissal of felony charges accusing him of misspending money from an inmate-welfare fund.

County Manager Julia Brown says Detention Center Administrator Christopher Barela will return to his post Monday.

Barela has been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 8. That’s when Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department personnel arrested Barela and assumed temporary control of the jail.

Brown says the allegations against Barela proved to be spurious and that she’s delighted to have him back on the job.

The District Attorney’s Office has said it dismissed fraud and embezzlement charges against Barela because of insufficient evidence.

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