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.