Crime

Dona Ana County jail administrator charged, allegedly bought marijuana from police informant

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Undercover agents charged Christopher Barela, the Dona Ana County jail administrator, with four counts of "possession of marijuana over one ounce, but less than eight ounces."

Barela told ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom he had no comment on the charges. Dona Ana County Spokesperson Jess Williams told ABC-7 Barela has been placed in indefinite administrative leave with pay.

Court documents obtained by ABC-7 state two narcotic agents met with an informant on April 24, 2017. The informant told the agents Barela was allegedly involved in the purchase of marijuana.

The informant told the agents Barela has been buying marijuana in increments of $40 dollars, and sometimes in increments of $100, "approximately five to ten days apart on a consistent basis for approximately the past two years," the document states.

The agents obtained Facebook messenger data "consistent with the information provided by the confidential source ... and were able to determine the public name on the account identified in Facebook messenger was Kris Barela and had an associated profile picture of a person identified as Christopher Barela," the document further states.

Documents reveal Barela allegedly used code words like "Hatch Green Chili" for marijuana.

Investigators set up a surveillance operation and allegedly witnessed Barela purchasing marijuana from the informant on May 31, 2017 and June 14, 2017.

On both occasions, Barela allegedly bought 30 grams of marijuana for $40, documents state.


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