Georgia, College Student Murder Suspect’s Brother Arrested for ‘Fake Green Card,’ DOJ Says

Diego Ibarra, the brother of Laken Riley murder suspect Jose Antonio Ibarra, is accused of possessing a fake green card.

That’s according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, which says he is under arrest.

According to Atlanta News First, which obtained the DOJ statement, the statement also reveals that Diego Ibarra has a criminal history in the Athens, Georgia, area.

Fox5 News reported that Diego Ibarra is accused of possessing a “fake green card.”

Riley, 22, a nursing student, was found deceased from “blunt-force trauma” after she went jogging on the University of Georgia’s campus on February 22, according to the UGA police chief, who spoke in a February 23 press conference. The chief, Jeffrey Clark, revealed that Jose Ibarra is not a U.S. citizen. Jose Ibarra is now accused in the murder of Riley. The chief described the homicide as a crime of opportunity because there is no evidence that Ibarra knew Riley.

Here’s what you need to know:

Diego Ibarra, Who Has a Criminal History in Georgia, Was Stopped Because He Matched the Suspect Description in the Homicide

The suspect’s brother, Diego Ibarra, first came to police attention because at first they thought he could be the homicide suspect.

He was stopped “because he matched the description of a suspect in the homicide investigation,” according to Atlanta News First, citing the statement from the U.S. DOJ.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that this police contact was Homeland Security first became aware of Diego Ibarra’s “undocumented presence in the U.S.”

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That’s despite the fact that Diego Ibarra has a criminal history in the Athens, Georgia, area. AJC reported that DOJ revealed Diego Ibarra was arrested “three times by Athens law enforcement since entering the U.S.,” including being arrested for OWI, shoplifting and failing to appear in court, from late September through December.

Diego Ibarra “was processed for expedited removal but claimed a credible fear of return to Venezuela. He was consequently released from immigration custody pending a ruling on his asylum claim on April 30,” AJC reported.

Heavy has contacted the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Georgia for further details.

Jose Antonio Ibarra, Who Is Accused in the Murder of Laken Riley, Is Not a U.S. Citizen, But the Chief Did Not Release Details of His Immigration History

MugshotJose Antonio Ibarra.

In the press conference, the chief said he believed Jose Ibarra was likely from Venezuela. Chief Clark said that Jose Ibarra is not a U.S. citizen but added that he did not have the details of his immigration history.

Ali Bradley, a journalist with NewsNation, reported that “multiple DHS sources confirm the suspect in UGA student, Laken Riley’s murder—José Antonio Ibarra is here illegally from Venezuela. CBP documents show he crossed in September of 2022 into El Paso, Texas and was released due to lack of detention space.”

Bradley added: “The 26 year old from Venezuela was arrested today by ICE-ERO Atlanta.”

Journalist Bradley also reported that Jose Ibarra “was arrested 5 months ago in New York. Records show he was arrested on 9/14/23 in Queens, NY for injury to child less than 17 and no license.”

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