DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 31, 2019
John C. Anderson
, United States Attorney
Contact: Sean J. Sullivan

Man from Albuquerque Faces Federal Charges of Carjacking Two Vehicles at Gunpoint

ALBUQUERQUE – Charles Chavez, 27, of Albuquerque, N.M., appeared in federal court today on a criminal complaint charging him with two counts of carjacking and two counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. 


According to the criminal complaint, Chavez rang the doorbell at a home in Albuquerque on January 8, 2019.   He asked to use the telephone, but the resident who answered the door said no.  Chavez then pointed a gun at the resident and demanded the keys to the resident’s truck.


Chavez then drove away in the truck and went to a gas station where he confronted a motorist who was pumping gas.  Chavez pointed a rifle at the motorist and demanded the keys to the motorist’s truck.  Chavez drove away in this second truck leaving behind the first truck he previously stole from the home. 


Chavez then drove to a drive-thru ATM machine.  He got out of the truck that he stole at the gas station and approached the occupants of another vehicle who were in the process of using the ATM.  Chavez pointed a rifle at them and demanded money.  Deputies from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office saw Chavez committing this crime, approached him, and ordered him to surrender.  Chavez ignored them and drove away in the truck he stole from the gas station, but crashed a short distance away.  He tried to escape on foot, but deputies caught and arrested him.


Criminal complaints are only accusations.  Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Chavez is currently in custody awaiting trial.  He faces up to 15 years in prison for each of the carjacking offenses and consecutive sentences of 7 years to life in prison for each of the firearm offenses. 


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated this case with the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.


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Phoenix Field Division