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Doña Ana jail director charged with marijuana possession

Doña Ana jail director Chris Barela was charged with marijuana possession.

The director at the Doña Ana Detention Center has been charged with buying marijuana from undercover sources, the Doña Ana District Attorney confirmed.

Christopher Barela, 54, was charged Friday but has not been arrested.

The Las Cruces Sun News reports that Barela purchased marijuana on four separate occasions this year.

Barela is facing four counts of marijuana possession after investigators were tipped off that he had been buying marijuana on a consistent basis for about two years, according to the Las Cruces Sun News.

Barela got his job back as director of the jail last year after being arrested for alleged embezzlement in December 2015.

Detective Ken Roberts, who was in charge of the investigation, said the charges were related to the use of the inmate welfare fund.

Barela had been charged with embezzlement, fraud, bringing contraband into the detention center and willful neglect of duty.

In April 2016, all but the willful neglect of duty charges were dropped and the district attorney’s office determined there was not enough evidence to take the case to a grand jury.

The district attorney’s office said the court will be responsible for criminal court summons for the drug charges.

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