An indictment charging former New Mexico Republican state representative candidate Solomon Peña and his accomplices, Demetrio Trujillo and Jose Trujillo, for a shooting spree that targeted the homes of four elected officials, was recently unsealed, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico announced in a press release on Wednesday.
A federal grand jury indicted all three men on May 24, 2023. All three men face up to a life sentence in prison.
Solomon Peña, 40, is charged with several crimes, including conspiracy, four counts of interference with federally protected activities, and four counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Jose Trujillo, 22, is charged with, “conspiracy, four counts of interference with federally protected activities, and four counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, possession with intent to distribute 40 grams and more of fentanyl and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime,” according to the release.
Plus, Demetrio Trujillo, 41, faces charges for conspiracy, four counts of interference with federally protected activities, and four counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Peña unsuccessfully ran for District 14 of the New Mexico House of Representatives during the November 2022 midterm elections. After he lost, Peña allegedly organized the shootings on the homes of four elected officials: Bernalillo County commissioners and two New Mexico state legislators. The shootings took place between December 4, 2022, and January 3, 2023; he allegedly received help from his co-defendants in committing these crimes.
“In America, the integrity of our voting system is sacrosanct,” U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez said, according to the release. “These charges strike at the heart of our democracy. Voters, candidates, and election officials must be free to exercise their rights and do their jobs safely and free from fear, intimidation, or influence, and with confidence that law enforcement and prosecuting offices will lead the charge when someone tries to silence the will of the people. To those who try to sow division, chaos, and fear into our democratic process, these charges should send a message that we are unified, organized, and undaunted.”
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said he hopes to see the three men brought to justice.
“APD worked tirelessly with our federal partners to bring those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice,” Medina said, according to the release. “Thankfully, no one was physically harmed by these politically motivated shootings, but I hope these indictments bring some sense of relief to all those impacted, through the emotional toll they’ve had to endure.”
The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with help from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Senior Litigation Counsel Victor R. Salgado of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremy Peña and Patrick E. Cordova for the District of New Mexico are the prosecutors for this case.
Republished with the permission of The Center Square.