Socorro councilman Jesse Gandara Jr. released from jail

Jesse Gandara Jr. released from jail

EL PASO, Texas - Former Socorro City Council Rep. Jesse Gandara Jr. spent the night in jail after being charged with animal cruelty and possession of 2 ounces of marijuana. 

Gandara did not want to make a statement as he walked out of the El Paso County Jail early Friday morning.

He was arrested Thursday after the El Paso County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at his home and Socorro City Hall.

It was not immediately known what the sheriff's deputies were looking for at the two locations, but sheriff's spokeswoman Chris Acosta said the search had to do with the complaint filed by the owner of the Licon Dairy.

In February, the prominent San Elizario business owner released a recording in which Gandara appears to be offering him a bribe in exchange for his support of Socorro's annexation of San Elizario. 

Gandara denied wrongdoing.

Thursday, sheriff's investigators searched Gandara's home as he stood outside with his young son. Shortly after, Gandara was taken inside, then escorted into a patrol unit in handcuffs.

Gandara was charged with animal cruelty after investigators said they found some abused chickens and roosters. It is not known how many animals were seized or their condition.

Sheriff's officials said only their agency was involved in the search.

This is the second time in two months that Gandara has been arrested.

Gandara was arrested in mid-March after he was indicted on a felony theft charge.
Gandara and a Socorro police sergeant are accused of using a city vehicle to take a trip and claiming excess travel expenses from the city.

Gandara had some strong words about the El Paso County Sheriff's Office after he was released from jail in March.

"We've always said there's corruption within the sheriff's department, Richard Wiles and these allegations they've made against me. Being from Socorro, we stand up against those people who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for the past two and a half years investigating me," Gandara told ABC-7 on March 19.

Gandara said he believes the arrest was politically motivated to make him look bad before the May election.

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