. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The special prosecutor representing the State of New Mexico in a preliminary hearing for Eddy County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Trey Thompson, charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors in an alleged cattle rustling scheme, elected Friday to drop the felony charges.

Curry County prosecutor Timothy Rose indicated he did not believe Thompson’s intent was to steal the cattle but that the evidence in the case supported a third misdemeanor charge of impounding stray livestock, which he added to the original two misdemeanor counts of unlawful disposition of animals.

Thompson, along with alleged accomplice Skeeter Chadwick, was arrested in April, when his charges included two fourth-degree felony charges of transporting stolen livestock and conspiracy to commit the transporting of stolen livestock.

Rose indicated he also plans to drop the felony charges and add a misdemeanor during Chadwick’s hearing June 22.

Defense attorney Gary Mitchell entered a plea of not guilty on the new misdemeanor charge against Thompson. Neither Mitchell nor Rose had returned a call seeking comment as of press time Saturday.

Thompson is running as an undersheriff candidate on the ticket of Republican candidate for Eddy County sheriff Kelly Lowe, who issued a statement Friday on Facebook.

“With today’s conclusion, I encourage citizens and the voting public to reconsider any clouded concerns prior to the election and cast their ballots based on the actual candidates and qualifications,” Lowe said in the statement. “I maintain my firm standing on Trey’s innocence and if elected Sheriff, have every intention of appointing this honorable man to serve as Eddy County Undersheriff.”