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Dona Ana County jail director resigns under fire

Chris Barela at the Las Cruces Police Athletic League Gym, April 8, 2016. Chris Barela at the Las Cruces Police Athletic League Gym, April 8, 2016. |  Photo: Photo courtesy Jett Loe / Las Cruces Sun-News

The Associated Press
September 07, 2017 08:00 AM

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - The longtime director of the Dona Ana County Detention center has resigned as he faced marijuana possession charges and a move to fire him.

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The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Wednesday that Chris Barela resigned after an administrative hearing where he was contesting a move to fire him.

Barela has pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor marijuana possession charges and has a court date later this month. Local narcotics detectives launched an investigation in April after receiving a tip that Barela had regularly been buying marijuana. Detectives then set up a sting and Barela allegedly purchased pot from undercover operatives.

Barela told the Sun-News he resigned under "eminent threat of termination" after being told the hearing officer would order him fired.

Barela has overseen the county jail since 2005.

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The Associated Press

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