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Former Rocky Ford officer arrested, accused of tampering with evidence

George Ibarra faces charges of tampering with evidence, theft and official misconduct.

OTERO COUNTY, Colo. — A former Rocky Ford Police officer is accused of stealing several guns that were collected as evidence during his time with the department, according to an affidavit for his arrest from the Otero County Sheriff's Office.

George Ibarra  was arrested Tuesday and faces the following charges:

  • Tampering with evidence
  • Official misconduct
  • Theft

The investigation into Ibarra began in January after the Rocky Ford Police Department could not find a backpack that was taken as evidence during a domestic violence incident. The victim in that case said it contained several items, including at least two guns.

Body camera footage from Ibarra showed that he placed the bag in the trunk of his patrol car. Another officer said she had last seen the bag near her desk, which was near the "old evidence facility." At the time, there were no cameras in that area of the department, the affidavit says.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was brought in to assist with the investigation. During the investigation, it was learned that Ibarra had been seen with a different weapon that also had been collected as evidence.

A woman associated with Ibarra went to investigators and said she helped Ibarra get rid of several guns after he got a call from the CBI in late May.

She said she had seen Ibarra with two firearms in evidence boxes. She reported that Ibarra ripped up the evidence boxes and that she had taken pictures of the guns.

She told investigators that she and Ibarra took the guns to an area known as the "head gates" and dropped them in the water. Investigators went there but did not find the guns.

The woman provided her photos to investigators, who found evidence suggesting the photos were taken inside Ibarra's residence. The weapons also appeared to match the ones that were reported missing from the domestic violence victim.

The woman said she was coming forward to "do the right thing" and reported that she was "afraid" of Ibarra and inferred that he "may be part of a gang," the affidavit says.

When investigators searched Ibarra's home on Aug. 22, they found a cleaning kit bag that was associated with a missing gun that Ibarra had collected for "safekeeping," the affidavit says.

Ibarra was terminated from the police department on Sept. 14, 2022. He appeared in court Wednesday and is next due in court on Sept. 21.

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