New Mexico GOP candidate accused of planning shootings faces new investigation

 January 22, 2023

Former GOP candidate Solomon Pena is now facing an investigation for campaign finance violations, the Washington Examiner reports

This comes after Pena was recently arrested for his alleged involvement in shootings targeting Democratic politicians.

Both situations follow Pena's recent defeat in the 2022 midterm election.

Pena unsuccessfully ran for one of New Mexico's seats in the state house of representatives.

The latest

On Friday, CNN published a report indicating that New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez has begun an investigation into possible campaign finance violations by Pena.

Torrez announced the investigation, according to CNN, after the Albuquerque Police Department had announced that they have been looking into whether Pena's 2022 campaign was partially funded by cash that he laundered, in the form of campaign contributions, from narcotics sales.

According to CNN, the Albuquerque Police Department has arrested José Trujillo, who has been identified as the single biggest contributor to Pena's campaign, donating $5,155. Trujillo was listed as a "cashier," and, at the time of his arrest, he was found with a large amount of cash and narcotics pills on him.

A police official told CNN:

You have a suspected gunman who claims to be homeless with $3,000 dollars in cash and a bag of drugs making big donations to a campaign. You have to ask yourself where that money is coming from.

That's certainly enough to raise suspicions.

The shootings

Pena and Trujillo have both been arrested in relation to a number of recent shootings that targeted the homes of Democratic politicians.

It is alleged that Pena paid at least $500 to four men to carry out the shootings, which began on Dec. 4 and continued all the way until Jan. 3. The targets included Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, state Rep. Javier Martinez, Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, and Sen. Linda Lopez.

Pena is alleged to have accompanied the shooters in at least the final shooting, which targeted Lopez's house.

Pena is now facing a number of charges, including multiple counts of shooting at a home, shooting from a motor vehicle, aggravated battery, conspiracy, and illegal possession of a firearm. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

Pena, according to reports, does have a criminal background. In April 2007, he was arrested and convicted for stealing from retail stores. He spent nine years in prison before he was released in March 2016, and then he spent another five years on probation before his voting rights were given back to him.

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