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Press Release

Albuquerque man makes court appearance on federal carjacking charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

           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.

Updated August 25, 2020

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 20-141