- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) - The mayor of a troubled border city in New Mexico has won re-election against a city councilor who previously was arrested at city hall on drug charges, according to unofficial results Tuesday.

Results show Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea captured 78 percent of the vote over councilor Sergio Carrillo in an election that centered on the future of the city still licking its wound from a string of embarrassing episodes.

The city drew national attention in 2012 after former mayoral candidate Daniel Salinas was arrested for recording an opponent receiving a lap dance from a topless woman. Salinas pleaded guilty to extortion last year.

The year before, former Mayor Martin Resendiz admitted he was drunk when he signed contracts with a California company.

Perea has led Sunland Park since those scandals and also has worked to get the city’s finances in order. But in recent months, Sunland Park has had to battle more embarrassing news after at least two city councilors faced legal problems.

Last year, the 29-year-old Carrillo was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from a previous traffic stop. He was taken into custody at city hall during a meeting.

His attorney, Jess Lilley, said Carrillo has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ten days later, another Sunland Park councilor was arrested on allegations that he gave beer to his 19-year-old girlfriend and another person.

A third councilor was evicted from his home by U.S. Marshals.

Nearly 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line in the city, where the main source of income comes from the Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. It’s the only American border city that sits south of the Rio Grande.

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