ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Former Rock Nobles probation agent facing criminal charges

WORTHINGTON -- Charges have been filed against one of two former Rock Nobles Community Corrections agents recently arrested and involved in a Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force investigation.

4095127+032418.N.DG_.BARRAZAmug.jpg
Barraza

WORTHINGTON - Charges have been filed against one of two former Rock Nobles Community Corrections agents recently arrested and involved in a Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force investigation.

A string of charges were filed Friday morning against Rebecca Barraza, 25, of Worthington for her alleged involvement in aiding or concealing an offender, driving under the influence and being accused of regularly misusing her position as a corrections agent to aid offenders.

According to the nine-page criminal complaint, Barraza was arrested early March 18 by a Worthington police officer after allegedly attempting to aid or conceal an individual with an active warrant for his arrest by locking her vehicle’s doors - in which he was a passenger - upon noticing the officer’s presence.

The warrant for the male suspect’s arrest was issued in connection to a probation violation report filed by the Rock Nobles Community Corrections office that Barraza would have had the ability to access. The officer allegedly found .18 grams of cocaine in Barraza’s vehicle near where the male suspect had been sitting, which he has been formally charged with possessing.

A Minnesota State trooper who specializes in drug recognition evaluation was called to assist and evaluate Barraza for signs of drug impairment, the complaint continues. The complaint details multiple possible drug impairment indicators the trooper observed, and a search warrant for a sample of Barraza’s blood was obtained.

ADVERTISEMENT

Barraza provided interviews with law enforcement, but wanted to contact an attorney prior to complying to a blood test. The complaint details that Barraza attempted to contact an attorney approximately 20 times, but was unsuccessful and ultimately refused the test.

In interviews related to the investigation and detailed in the complaint, Barraza was also accused of giving information to the male suspect on probation - with whom she had a personal relationship - and tipping off other offenders about urine tests.  

Her charges filed in Nobles County District Court include felony aiding an offender to avoid arrest-harbor/conceal (accessory after the fact); gross misdemeanor misconduct of public employee; misdemeanor obstruct legal process - lawful execution of legal process; and misdemeanor fourth-degree driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

The most serious offense is punishable up to three years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both. Her first appearance has been scheduled for April 12 in Nobles County District Court.

No criminal charges had been filed as of 2 p.m. Friday for Cynthia Banegas, another former corrections agent arrested March 21 and jailed in the Cottonwood County Jail for allegedly aiding an offender, a felony.

According to Rock Nobles Community Corrections Director Jon Ramlo, two corrections agents were terminated from their employment March 27. Ramlo did not identify which employees had been terminated, but Barraza and Banegas are no longer listed on the Rock Nobles Community Corrections online roster.

What To Read Next
The North Dakota Highway Patrol investigated the Wednesday, Jan. 25, crash.
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
“We see that when things happen in the coastal areas, a few years later, they start trending toward the Midwest,” said Rep. Ben Krohmer, serving his first term in the House.
“This is sensationalism at its finest, and it does not deserve to be heard in our state capitol,” Rep. Erin Healy, a Democrat and one of 10 votes against the bill in the 70-person chamber, said.