City employee may have sold drugs on taxpayers' dime
Posted at: 08/03/2012 6:58 PM
| Updated at: 08/03/2012 7:03 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Patrick Vargas, a city employee accused of drug dealing while at work, was arrested Thursday and charged with bribery, intimidation and retaliation.
Vargas, who works for the Albuquerque Housing Authority, has not been charged with any drug offenses but according to investigators, he was dealing drugs on the taxpayers' dime on city property.
One of Vargas' coworkers told detectives he threatened she would be killed if she ever testified what she knew about his drug dealing at work.
But a man who lives near Vargas told KOB Eyewitness News 4 he is not buying any of the accusations.
"He ain't a drug pin, he ain't a drug seller," the neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said. "He didn't sell drugs."
The neighbor has lived down the street from Vargas for the past year and said despite an eviction notice posted to Vargas' home, he never gave anyone a reason to suspect he was doing something wrong.
"All he did was go to work, come home," the neighbor said. "He never had nobody there or nothing."
But according to the criminal complaint, it was not just at home, but also at the Albuquerque Housing Authority where Vargas worked, that police saw him conduct multiple drug deals.
During work hours, detectives said they watched Vargas meet people on the east side of the building. On one occasion, while Vargas was being paid to work, the criminal complaint states that Vargas was seen meeting with a woman outside the building.
The woman who detectives later stopped was found to be in possession of oxycodone pills and steroids. Police then had her call Vargas, and while they listened in, he agreed to sell her more, according to the complaint.
This is just one of multiple deals police said they saw take place while Vargas was on the clock, and the sort of behavior Mayor Richard Berry said will not be tolerated.
"It's a matter of if they're doing wrong things and they're doing illegal things and they're not doing what's best for the taxpayers and the citizens," Berry said. "We will investigate and when we find improprieties, we will weed them out."
Vargas' criminal history includes everything from a shooting back in 1993 to suspected domestic violence in 2008.
He has worked for the city since 2003, and the Albuquerque Housing Authority since 2009, where he is currently considered absent without leave.