Regional
4:28 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

County Detention Center Over Capacity

Las Cruces – The director of the Dona Ana County Detention Center is warning weekend revelers that if they get into trouble, they can expect a particularly unpleasant stay in the facility.

"I'm at 866 detainees right now, and my capacity is supposed to be 822," said Chris Barela. "We're stacking, packing and racking them to make them all fit. Anyone who gets booked during the next several days will stay in the booking cells until they can be legally released, because we have no room in the general population cell blocks."

The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Department and other area agencies are planning saturation patrols and checkpoints to arrest impaired drivers throughout the holiday weekend.

All residents of and visitors to Dona Ana County are advised to avoid drinking and driving, as well as any other activity that could result in an arrest.

"On its best days, this is not a pleasant place to spend your time," Barela said. "When it's this crowded, it's just that much more unpleasant. We'll keep making room as necessary, but no one's going to like being here until the population subsides."