RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Police say an Uber driver was beaten and raped by a passenger after he lured her to the outskirts of Rio Rancho last month.
The passenger, Gabreil Munoz, 38, was arrested the next day and charged with rape, aggravated battery, kidnapping and other charges. Court records also refer to him as Gabriel Munoz.
In an emailed statement, a spokesman for Uber said every trip is tracked by GPS and the company has a 24/7 law enforcement response team to work with police on investigations.
“What the driver reported to police is deeply disturbing and something nobody should have to experience,” the statement says. “We have been in contact with the driver to offer our support and stand ready to help authorities.”
There have been numerous reports of Uber drivers assaulting passengers – a CNN investigation published last May found that over the past four years 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexual and violent offenses. No statistics could be found about passengers accused of assault.
According to a complaint filed in Sandoval County Magistrate Court, around 6 a.m. on June 10, a woman who drives for Uber picked up three men in Albuquerque. When they arrived at their scheduled destination, two of the men – one of whom had requested the ride – got out and Munoz asked to be taken to his home in Rio Rancho. The Uber customer agreed to pay for Munoz to be driven home.
The woman later told police that as they reached Rio Rancho, Munoz told her she was going the wrong way and directed her to a desolate area on the mesa west of the city. Then, she said, he reached into the front of the car and put it in park.
“The defendant then began battering (the woman) at which time he forcefully pulled her into the back seat of her vehicle,” the officer wrote in the complaint. “(The woman) was physically fighting him until she was overpowered and was told to ‘behave’ by the defendant or he was going to kill her.”
According to the criminal complaint, after raping the woman Munoz told her not to bother getting dressed because she was going to die. She said he got in the driver’s seat and drove her to his apartment on Tulip SE, near Southern and Unser.
When they arrived at Munoz’s apartment, he got out and told her to do the same.
“She exited the car, then stated she needed to end the Uber ride service so she quickly jumped back into the car and locked the doors,” the officer wrote in the complaint. “Because the vehicle is a ‘push to start’ vehicle and the key was within range, she started the car and drove away.”
The woman called police, and officers went to Munoz’s apartment. Detectives who met the woman at the hospital said she had red marks on her neck and chin and bruises on her arms and was “visibly distraught.”
When officers went to talk to Munoz, he went into his home and refused to come out. After some time, he did come out of the house, wearing only his boxer shorts.
According to a motion filed in court, when officers executed a search warrant, they found evidence of a “marijuana growing operation,” including two tablet computers that had been destroyed in a still-smoldering grill and $6,000 in cash.
Munoz was booked into the Sandoval County Detention Center. He is being held there without bail until trial.