Socorro City Rep. Jesse Gandara Jr. calls out sheriff after arrest

EL PASO, Texas - Socorro City Rep. Jesus "Jesse" Gandara Jr. was released from jail Monday night after he turned himself into authorities.

Last week he was indicted on a felony theft charge.

Gandara Jr. and a Socorro Police sergeant are accused of using a city vehicle to take a trip and claiming excess travel expenses from the city.

During an interview with Gandara after being released from jail, he had some strong words about the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

"We've always said there's corruption within the sheriffs department, richard wiles and these allegations they've made against me ends, and being from Socorro we stand up against those people that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for the past 2 and a half years investigating me."

He said he believes the arrest was politically motivated to make him look bad two months before the election.

Gandara Jr. is running to win back the district seat he recently resigned from. He is still serving on city council.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office declined to comment other than to send out the following news released Tuesday afternoon:

"The mission of the Sheriff's Office is to enforce the laws of the State of Texas throughout El Paso County.  This involves the investigation of criminal complaints and working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies and prosecutorial authorities.  Mr. Gandara's case was but one of thousands of cases this office investigates throughout the year.  Based on a complaint brought forth by a citizen of Socorro, we completed our investigation of the allegations and submitted the case to the District Attorney's Office.  The case was then presented to a Grand Jury which is made up of independent citizens of the county who considered the evidence and found probable cause to believe that Mr. Gandara has violated the law and returned an indictment against him.  The motivations for Mr. Gandara's comments are obvious and they are completely without merit."

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