Albuquerque police investigating supply of marketing campaign contributions to Solomon Pena
Jan. 19—Albuquerque police are trying into the opportunity of felony exercise involving marketing campaign contributions to disgraced state Home candidate Solomon Pena as a part of their investigation right into a sequence of shootings he’s accused of orchestrating at Democratic politicians’ properties.
A information launch Thursday states Albuquerque detectives uncovered “potential criminal activity” stemming from contributions made by José Trujillo, one other man police say is suspected within the shootings, and Trujillo’s mom.
Trujillo donated $5,155 to Pena between the first and normal elections, and his mom, Melanie Griego, gave $4,000 to Pena’s marketing campaign through the normal election, in response to police and state marketing campaign finance experiences. The experiences state Trujillo is a cashier.
Police stated Trujillo and Griego’s contributions listed the identical southwest Albuquerque deal with and accounted for about 40% of the entire quantity raised by Pena, a Republican, all through his failed marketing campaign for state Home District 14.
Detectives try to find out whether or not the cash got here from drug trafficking, and if any marketing campaign legal guidelines had been damaged by means of the donations, police stated within the information launch.
Whereas on-line courtroom data don’t present Trujillo has been charged within the alleged taking pictures conspiracy, he was arrested early Jan. 3 — not lengthy after a taking pictures at state Sen. Linda Lopez’s dwelling in Albuquerque — by Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies after a site visitors cease.
Police stated 893 fentanyl capsules had been discovered contained in the Nissan Maxima that Trujillo was driving, together with $3,036 in money and two weapons.
Investigators discovered the Nissan was registered to Pena and tied one of many weapons to the taking pictures at Lopez’s home, in response to a felony grievance filed late Monday in opposition to Pena filed in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courtroom.
The grievance cites different named and unnamed alleged accomplices, however to date none has been charged within the high-profile shootings between Dec. 4 and Jan. 3. Police have described the shootings as politically motivated assaults by a person who refused to simply accept the outcomes of his election.
Pena’s marketing campaign raised a complete of $9,493.32 in contributions through the 2022 major election cycle and $14,166.51 for the final election.
His largest normal election backer was the Jalapeño Corp., an organization owned by oilman and former state GOP chairman Harvey Yates, which gave Pena $5,000 on Sept. 28. Yates is a prolific political donor and has been for years; his firm gave greater than $150,000 in political contributions in 2022 alone, principally to Republicans but additionally to some conservative Democrats in contested major elections.
Pena was a supporter of Republican secretary of state candidate Audrey Trujillo — and her second-largest marketing campaign donor, in response to marketing campaign finance data. He gave her $4,664 for her unsuccessful marketing campaign.
Pena gave a lot smaller quantities to 4 different Republican candidates.
One other main supporter of Pena was Michael Fletcher, who gave him $2,875 through the primaries and $1,850 through the normal election cycle, in response to marketing campaign finance data. The data record Fletcher as a safety guard.
Pena, a convicted felon, is accused of masterminding shootings on the properties of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, lately elected Home Speaker Javier Martinez, then-Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley and Lopez after attempting to persuade them his November election in opposition to incumbent Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia was rigged.
His marketing campaign for the state Home got here to an finish when he misplaced to Garcia, receiving solely 26% of the vote.
He was arrested by an Albuquerque SWAT staff Monday and appeared in courtroom remotely Wednesday in shackles.
A choose stated he’ll stay detained till a listening to to find out whether or not he ought to be jailed till his trial.
Albuquerque police Chief Harold Medina famous in a press release Wednesday a judicial evaluation recommends Pena’s launch till his trial, which Medina referred to as an instance of a damaged felony justice system in want of reform.
“This suspect is alleged to have employed hitmen to shoot up elected officers’ homes with life-threatening gun fireplace,” Medina stated within the assertion.
Assistant Metropolis Editor Nathan Brown contributed to this report.
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