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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Albuquerque man makes court appearance on federal carjacking charges

           ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Elias Bencomo-Morales, 42, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, made an initial appearance in federal court on Friday, August 21, and has been charged federally with carjacking for allegedly using a gun to force a woman and her two minor children out of their vehicle in a Taco Bell drive-thru lane. At a hearing today, the Court ordered that he will remain detained for trial.

           A federal indictment and complaint charge Bencomo-Morales also with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  The Albuquerque Police Department arrested Bencomo-Morales, who was transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Violent Crime Task Force to face federal charges on August 19, 2020.

           Bencomo-Morales is accused of approaching a vehicle waiting in the Taco Bell drive-thru lane in southwest Albuquerque on September 17, 2019.  He allegedly pulled on the driver's-side door handle before the driver and her two children, 5 and 1 year old, got out of the vehicle at gunpoint. Bencomo-Morales allegedly drove away in the vehicle. The following day, Albuquerque police pulled the SUV over because the license plate was registered to a different vehicle, and Bencomo-Morales was taken into custody.

           A criminal complaint or indictment is only an accusation.  A defendants is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

           The case was investigated by the FBI Violent Crime Task Force and the Albuquerque Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Trembley is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
20-141
Updated August 25, 2020