Prints ID California fugitive held in Mesa County Jail

Luke Artinger, booked into the Mesa County Jail as Jeremy Ibarra.

A California fugitive on the run for more than three years has been caught in Grand Junction.

Luke Austin Artinger, 24, was booked into the Mesa County Jail Oct. 8, 2013, under the false name Jeremy Ibarra. It was only later, when his fingerprints showed a match for Artinger, that his true identity was discovered, according to the Huntington Beach, Calif. police department.

The Huntington Beach Police Department announced Artinger’s capture Thursday with a press release. According to the release, Artinger is wanted in Huntington Beach on suspicion of stabbing a former friend in the head and neck on July 3, 2010. He fled the scene and hadn’t been located since, until his arrest and identification in Grand Junction.

Artinger, who was profiled on the television show “America’s Most Wanted,” also pleaded guilty in 2009 to vandalism and battery in connection to stabbing a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who tried to arrest him in February 2007 after the deputy caught Artinger spraying graffiti, according to the release. He was sentenced to five years for that incident but was released on parole 13 months after sentencing, less than half a year before he stabbed his friend.

Artinger was arrested Oct. 8 on the Colorado Mesa University campus on suspicion of possession of psilocybin mushrooms, resisting arrest, obstructing government operations and possession of drug paraphernalia. A student at the university reported seeing Artinger selling drugs on campus that afternoon, according to an arrest affidavit. Two Grand Junction police officers attempted to arrest Artinger when they found the mushrooms in a backpack near where Artinger was standing outside of the University Center. He ran west toward Monument Hall but a student noticed him running from police and tackled him. Officers later found an Oregon Health Authority card with the name Jeremy Ibarra on it and a digital scale in the backpack.

Porras said Artinger will remain in Mesa County until he is sentenced for the October incident, then face extradition to California.


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