James Moreno, 18, and Christopher Rodriguez, 18, both of San Xavier, Arizona, were charged by criminal complaint on Monday with Carjacking, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. Moreno and Rodriguez had been arrested the day before.
In the early morning hours of March 5, 2023, in San Xavier, Arizona, on the Tohono O’odham Nation, Moreno and Rodriguez are alleged to have stolen a Jeep Cherokee from an Uber driver by threatening the driver with a firearm. The driver ran for several hours to a gas station on Valencia Road near Interstate 19, where an employee called 911.
That same morning, Moreno and Rodriguez also allegedly stole a Toyota Camry from a second individual at gunpoint, at a Circle K gas station in Marana, Arizona. Rodriguez is alleged to have pointed a gun at the driver’s lower abdomen and legs.
Marana Police Department officers located the Toyota Camry and attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle allegedly failed to yield and fled from the officers before crashing near Interstate 10 and Miracle Mile. Moreno and Rodriguez fled from the vehicle on foot before being apprehended. Inside the Camry, officers located a 9mm firearm.
The Uber driver’s Jeep Cherokee was located less than a mile from the Circle K on Sandario Road with a flat tire and its license plate removed.
A conviction for Carjacking carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
A conviction for Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence carries a penalty of no less than 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
The Marana Police Department, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Southern Arizona Violent Crime and Gang Task Force, along with assistance from the Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department and the Tucson Police Department, conducted the arrests in this case.
The FBI is conducting the investigation in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Adam Rossi, District of Arizona, Tucson, is handling the prosecution.