Georgia Student’s Alleged Migrant Killer Has Brother Caught Allegedly Carrying Fraudulent Immigration Papers: DOJ

(Image not from story.) REUTERS/Mike Blake

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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The brother of a migrant arrested for the alleged murder of nursing student Laken Riley was caught carrying fraudulent immigration papers, the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed Saturday to the Daily Caller.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia released a press statement Friday evening about the brother of Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, who was charged by Georgia authorities in connection to the death of Riley. Ibarra’s brother, Diego, 29, was charged Friday night with “possessing a fraudulent green card,” according to officials. (RELATED: Immigrant Charged With Murder In Connection To Death Of University Student)

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) became aware of Diego’s undocumented presence in the U.S. on Friday and was quickly approached by an Athens-Clarke County Police Department (ACCPD) officer due to matching a “description of a suspect” in Riley’s homicide investigation, according to the release. Diego presented a green card to authorities; however, it was found to be “fraudulent,” authorities confirmed.

Diego Ibarra, who is a Venezuelan citizen, after he had been processed for “expedited removal” was “released from immigration custody” April 30, 2023 while waiting for his petition for asylum due to claims of “credible fear” to be adjudicated, according to the DOJ. Ibarra was arrested three times in 2023 by Athens law enforcement, according to authorities.

Ibarra was first arrested in September 2023 by the ACCPD for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license, according to officials. In October 2023 Ibarra was arrested by the ACCPD for theft by shoplifting; in December 2023 he was arrested again for failure to appear for a “fingerprintable offense,” according to the release.

Officials have yet to release an update confirming Jose’s immigration status and background; in 2022 he allegedly entered the U.S. illegally through El Paso, Texas,  multiple sources from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed to NewsNation. After Jose was detained, he was released by authorities due to the lack of holding space available, according to the outlet.

Jose was arrested Friday and charged by the University of Georgia (UGA) police with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another, according to the release. Ibarra’s “full status” was not known at the time, except that he was not a resident of the U.S., UGA Chief of Police Jeff Clark stated during a press conference.

Ibarra has since appeared in court and is reportedly being held without bond.

Riley was found Thursday afternoon by UGA authorities after a friend of the nursing student contacted officials when Riley never returned from a run on campus. The 22-year-old was found and identified by authorities behind Lake Herrick near the intramural fields, before being confirmed to have died from “blunt force trauma.” Officials stated they had found no connection between Riley and Jose Ibarra, believing the attack was a “crime of opportunity.”

Diego Ibarra’s case is currently under investigation by Homeland Security Investogationd (HSI) along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), ACCPD, UGA police and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office. He is being held in state custody and could face a maximum sentence of 10 years, the DOJ confirmed.