Brother Of Laken Riley’s Alleged Killer Has Possible Ties With Venezuelan Gangs: DOJ

Image not from story (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
Font Size:

The brother of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley’s alleged killer has been found to have alleged ties with a Venezuelan gang, along with a slew of additional criminal accounts, court filings confirmed.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) officials released a statement regarding Venezuelan illegal immigrant Diego Ibarra, 28, in connection with a preliminary court hearing scheduled for Thursday after he was charged with possession of a fraudulent document. Ibarra was arrested on Feb. 23 in Athens, Georgia, after attempting to hand an official a fake green card after being mistaken for Riley’s suspected murderer, who was later identified as Ibarra’s younger brother. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Georgia Senate GOP Introduce New Bill To Combat Sanctuary Policies In Light Of Laken Riley Murder)

Since Ibarra’s arrest by Georgia authorities, DOJ officials have sought to push for a motion of detention against the Venezuelan immigrant, revealing his listed criminal history with authorities since illegally entering the United States. Ibarra’s “first documented event” within the country occurred on April 3, 2023, when he illegally crossed the southern border near Eagle Pass, Texas, and was apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While Ibarra had been returned to Mexico on the same day, he re-entered again 27 days later on April 30, 2023.

During Border Patrol’s second illegal encounter with Ibarra, authorities claim that he, while with another migrant Jose Lozado-Salas attempting to cross, not only “resisted” officials but also attempted to fight back against the agent placing him under arrest.

“Simultaneously, the other agent attempted to take Ibarra into custody. Ibarra resisted the agent’s efforts and grabbed his CBP issued radio and threw it into a nearby yard. At one point, Ibarra attempted to bite the agent. The agents grappled with Ibarra and Lozado-Salas for approximately four minutes before members of the National Guard arrived and assisted the agents in subduing both men,” the court filing stated.

Facts in Support of Motion to Detain_Diego Ibarra_final Version_filed_Doc. 19 by hailey on Scribd

By May 11, 2023, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, along with Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officials, placed Ibarra in the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program and released him from immigration custody by the next day. While Ibarra was required to wear a GPS ankle monitor device, he was later removed from the ATD program and determined to have “cut off” his monitor, which was later found in Littleton, Colorado.

Authorities are unclear how Ibarra later traveled to Athens, Georgia. However, the Venezuelan illegal immigrant was arrested for driving under the influence on Sept. 24, 2023. Ibarra later racked up a list of run-ins with authorities involving one instance of domestic violence and twice for shoplifting, as confirmed by court filings.

Pictures of Ibarra were additionally provided to the court filing, which claimed that the Venezuelan illegal migrant had possible ties to the gang Tren de Aragua (TdA). With a “heavy presence” of TdA accomplices in Texas, New York, Illinois, and Georgia, Ibarra’s five-pointed crown on his left side, five-pointed stars on the right side of his neck, and teardrop tattoo under his right eye “suggest” he is affiliated with the gang.

“HSI investigators identified several different social media accounts used by Ibarra. Photos posted to Ibarra’s accounts contain several photos of him and others flashing the TdA hand sign,” the court filing stated.

Within one of the photos provided by authorities, Ibarra could be seen holding what appeared to look like a “Glock and a Smith & Wesson pistol,” according to the court documents.

If Ibarra is found guilty during his court hearing for possessing fraudulent documents he could face a maximum of ten years in prison, authorities stated.