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Assistant DA resigns following arrest

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The chief deputy district attorney for Lea County resigned after he was arrested in Chaves County Friday for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Jonathan Michael Thomas

Jonathan Michael Thomas, 35, was arrested by Chaves County Sheriff’s Office deputies Friday on one count of aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, and one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to a criminal complaint.

He resigned his position Saturday, according to a Monday press release from the office of the District Attorney for the 5th Judicial District, which consists of Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties.

“Our office does not condone drinking and driving and the criminal case has been conflicted to the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” the release states.

Thomas has been released on his own recognizance, according to documents filed Monday in Chaves County Magistrate Court.

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Deputies arrested Thomas on Highway 380 East near mile marker 190, when responding to a welfare check of a male subject sitting on the side of the road outside his vehicle, according to the complaint.

The caller advised that the male had just gotten back into the vehicle and was driving recklessly while heading towards Roswell, crossing over lanes and going head-on into oncoming traffic. The caller later said the male subject had pulled off the road and parked at a rest stop.

When deputies arrived at the rest stop, they made contact with Thomas, who was sitting in the vehicle, which reeked of alcohol, according to the complaint.

Thomas was allegedly observed by the deputies to have bloodshot and watery eyes, poor balance and slurred speech. He declined deputies’ requests to take a field sobriety test. When arrested, Thomas allegedly informed deputies he had a semi-automatic handgun on his waist. The gun, which was taken by police, was not chambered but did have ammunition in its magazine.

After placed in the back of a deputy’s unit and read his Miranda rights, Thomas declined to answer any questions or to take a breathalyzer test.

A request for comment from Thomas about his arrest was not answered. No attorney for Thomas was listed in electronic court records as of press time Monday.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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