(ROCKY FORD, Colo.) — A former Rocky Ford Police officer who was arrested on Tuesday, Aug. 22 is accused of stealing guns from evidence on multiple occasions, according to an arrest affidavit.

41-year-old former officer George Ibarra was arrested Tuesday on charges of Tampering with Evidence, Official Misconduct, and Theft. The charges stem from multiple incidents involving Ibarra, in which guns, ammunition, and other evidence went missing, some of which were recovered during the execution of a search warrant.

Arrest papers state that the investigation stemmed from a domestic violence incident, in which a backpack with guns and ammunition was seized during the arrest of a man. His ex-wife, the victim in the case, later contacted the Rocky Ford Police Department (RFPD) to retrieve the backpack, but it had somehow gone missing.

RFPD initially told the woman that she would be reimbursed for the value of the backpack and its contents, but when she stopped receiving responses from the Chief of Police at the time, she got her attorney involved. The case then involved the Otero County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI).

Through the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Ibarra had allegedly taken guns from evidence in other cases and that those guns had either been hidden at a home he shared with his girlfriend or disposed of in La Junta.

Ibarra’s girlfriend assisted the investigation by providing images she had taken of the guns in Ibarra’s possession at their home, and also by leading law enforcement to a shed during the execution of a search warrant in August of 2023 where more evidence was stashed, including ammunition and a gun that was missing from Rocky Ford evidence.

The backpack that had disappeared from the domestic violence case was also seen on Ibarra’s body-worn camera the day of that incident, and he was seen rummaging through it before putting it in his patrol car. It was later seen in the patrol room, before disappearing and never being entered into evidence.

When questioned about the missing evidence by the CBI, Ibarra’s story differed from the account provided by his girlfriend, arrest papers state.

A Filing of Charges hearing will be held in Otero County Court on Sept. 21 for Ibarra.

In response to Ibarra’s arrest, the new Rocky Ford Police Chief, Sean McDonagh, issued a statement on the police department’s Facebook page:

I have been investigating matters of concern to both the Department and the community, as part of my role as the new Chief. In maintaining transparency and ensuring thorough and independent investigations, I have and will continue to involve the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and other independent law enforcement agencies, to assist with resolving any matters that may come to my attention.

RFPD Chief McDonagh

To read his full statement, head to RFPD’s Facebook page.