Dona Ana jail director has charges dropped

Chris Barela has the majority of the charges against him dropped.

The director of the Doña Ana County Jail who was faces several charges had all but one dropped.

As previously reported, Chris Barela was arrested late last year amid accusations of misusing the inmate welfare fund.

He faced charged of embezzlement, fraud, bringing contraband into the detention center and willful neglect of duty.

After his grand jury hearing was postponed several times, the embezzlement and fraud charges were dropped on April 1.

The district attorney's office determined there wasn't enough evidence to take the case to the grand jury.

On Thursday, the DA's office dropped the contraband charge stating the grand jury ruled there wasn't enough evidence.

Now, Barela faces only a willful neglect of duty charge that will be heard in magistrate court. A hearing that was originally scheduled for Friday was then cancelled.

Sheriff Enrique Vigil stated the DA's office had received numerous complaints about the detention center, and Barela was arrested in December after a six month investigation.

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