Records show missing equipment, contraband at Dona Ana jail

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) – Dona Ana County sheriff’s records show a recent probe into allegations of corruption at the county jail was much larger than the criminal charges indicated.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that investigative documents obtained through a public records request show that there were allegations of missing television sets and exercise equipment, frequent contraband, intimidation of witnesses and improper use of employees’ time.

Jail administrator Christopher Barela was arrested Dec. 8 on one count of fraud over $20,000 or, in the alternative, one count of embezzlement over $20,000, one count of bringing contraband (a rifle) into the jail and willful neglect of duty. The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. Barela returned to work earlier this month.

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