Two City Workers Arrested Within Two Weeks Found With Prior Criminal Records

The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico has had two city employees arrested in separate incidences within two weeks of each other. In both cases, the men have previous criminal backgrounds. A New Mexico state law aimed at helping to bring ex-offenders back to the work force would not have prevented them from obtaining city jobs either. Although the city implemented background checks for its employees in 2009, the state’s Criminal Offenders Employment Act, dating back to 1974, would still allow those with a criminal past onto the city’s payroll.

According to Rob Perry, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, he is concerned that the state law “provides more protections to a criminal than it does to a public citizen.” Recently, Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department employee Ruben Ambriz was arrested for allegedly stealing parts from the department and selling them. A background check conducted by Albuquerque’s KRQE News 13 revealed that Ambriz has a criminal history going back at least ten years, with offenses including drug use and transferring a stolen car. Albuquerque Housing Authority employee Patrick Vargas was also recently arrested by police. Vargas was suspected of selling drugs out of his office and threatening to have a woman killed who informed police of his activities. Although no drugs were found, Vargas was charged with retaliation against a witness and bribery. Court records uncovered show Vargas had convictions in 1994 for aggravated burglary and battery before becoming employed with the city.

Perry said that while most city employees are good and trustworthy workers, he is against the state law allowing ex-offenders to be employed working for the public, since “citizens have to worry” that criminals would possibly have “access to their property of their home.” Albuquerque employs over 6,000 people on its city payroll, making it one of the biggest employers in the state of New Mexico. City officials say they are unaware how many of their employees might have criminal backgrounds. However, the Criminal Offenders Employment Act does not apply to every city worker, such as police officers, and some crimes do prevent prospective employees from obtaining certain jobs.

As discussed in the recent article Some Small Businesses Struggle with New Background Check Guidelines, legislation surrounding background checks can have a profound impact on businesses and city governments alike. Although the rules are constantly changing, one general guideline is that crimes related to the job at hand are an allowable exclusion. For that reason alone, it is worth it to always perform a background check. By using a reliable company such as, you can be assured you are getting the best and most thorough background check screening techniques available.With access to countless criminal databases nationwide they have many options available, several with instant results. Their US OneSEARCH gives you instant information from more than 430 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 11 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports. Or try their Ongoing Criminal Monitoring tool, which allows you to automatically run a continuous background check against a name and date of birth. You will be notified via email of any new information that may appear on their record. They will run the name for one year and remind you when it is time to renew the monitoring, plus you can remove the name from being monitored at any time.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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