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9:10am — Luna Deputy Arrested Again

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Accused of taking money, meth in April traffic stop.

Luna County Sheriff’s Deputy Tommy Salas, 33, who was arrested July 18 in connection with allegedly taking methamphetamine from a driver he stopped last December, was rearrested this week on similar charges in connection with an April 3 traffic stop, the Deming Headlight reported.

Salas, who has been on paid administrative leave from the department he joined in February 2005, surrendered himself Tuesday at the Luna County Detention Center, was booked and released on $7,500 bond, the Headlight reported.

The latest charges include possession of methamphetamine and two counts of larceny under $250, the paper reported.

He is accused of taking two bindles of meth and $150 from Francisco Reyes and $100 from Elizabeth Pinon during a traffic stop on April 3.

A criminal complaint in the case said Salas arrested Reyes for aggravated DUI, being a felon in possession of a firearm and child abuse — for having Pinon’s 10-year-old son in the car while driving under the influence, the Headlight reported.

Reyes told investigators he had two bindles (nearly a gram) of methamphetamine on him at the time of the arrest and that Salas pocketed them when they fell from his shirt, and was not charged with possession of the drug, according to the complaint.

Reyes also said Salas took $150 from him, which was never returned or credited to his jail account, investigators said.

Pinon, who was riding with Reyes along with her son, was told to empty her pockets and Salas allegedly took a $100 bill from her, but when she was released a few hours later, all she was given was a small plastic bag with pennies, nickels, dimes and a $5 bill, the court document said.

Pinon said she was told that was all that had been logged as her property at the arrest, the Headlight reported.

And, according to investigators, both Reyes and Pinon passed polygraph tests, the paper said.

Salas also faces charges of methamphetamine possession in connection with his Dec. 4, 2005, arrest of James Betz, according to earlier reports.

Investigators with the Luna County District Attorney’s Office have said that a gram of meth was taken from Butz, who was arrested for drunken driving, but was never logged into evidence and has never been recovered.

Salas, who was a Deming police officer before joining the Luna County Sheriff’s Office, is the first Luna County deputy to be arrested in 10 years, according to earlier reports.

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