Albuquerque Police detectives found what they think may be illegally obtained campaign contributions while investigating Solomon Peña and the shootings he allegedly masterminded.
“APD detectives learned through witness interviews related to the shooting investigation that Peña identified individuals to funnel contributions from an unknown source to his legislative campaign,” an APD news release states. “Detectives are working with other law enforcement agencies to determine whether the money for the campaign contributions was generated from narcotics trafficking and whether campaign laws were violated.”
Campaign finances are regulated under the Campaign Reporting Act, or CRA, which is under the State Ethics Commission’s purview.
“Presently, our office is reviewing the matter for CRA violations,” State Ethics Commission spokeswoman Suha Musa said via email. “If the Commission takes action in this matter, it will do so at a public meeting.”
The Campaign Reporting Act dictates how campaign funding can be used.
Peña, a Republican, ran against Democratic incumbent Rep. Miguel Garcia in House District 14.
Peña received just 26 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 74 percent of the vote.
Ahead of the general election, Garcia filed suit to have Peña removed from the ballot since Peña was a convicted felon. His felony convictions were for burglaries in 2006 and 2007. Peña served nine years in prison for his crimes.
Peña allegedly hired four men to shoot at the Democrat’s homes and allegedly participated himself in one of the shootings. One of the suspects in the shootings, Jose Trujillo donated $5,150 to Peña’s campaign while Trujillo’s mother, Melanie Griego, gave $4,000 to Peña’s campaign.
These contributions are almost half of the $23,659 Peña received for his campaign, according to campaign finance reports.
The shootings Peña allegedly masterminded took place at the homes of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, then-Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, state Sen. Linda Lopez and state Rep. Javier Martinez. State Sen. Anthony “Moe” Maestas’ law office and Attorney General Raúl Torrez’s campaign headquarters also reported shootings. Police have not linked these shootings to the other four.
Peña is charged on 15 counts related to the shootings at four Albuquerque Democrats’ homes in December and early January.
Peña is charged on four counts each of shooting at a dwelling or occupied building, shooting at or from a motor vehicle and conspiracy to shoot at a dwelling or occupied building. He was also charged with receipt, transportation or possession of a firearm or destructive device by certain persons, attempt to commit a felony, to wit: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal solicitation to commit shooting at a dwelling or occupied building.
Trujillo was arrested on a Bernalillo County felony warrant shortly after the shooting at Lopez’ southwest Albuquerque home.
The arresting deputy found two firearms, several ammunition magazines, 893 pills suspected to be fentanyl in small baggies and $3,036 in cash, an APD news release states.
One of the guns found was connected to the Lopez shooting.
“The deputy concluded that the guns, drugs and cash were consistent with dealing narcotics,” the APD news release states. “Trujillo was booked on Jan. 3 for his outstanding warrant, as well as a new charge of trafficking in narcotics.”
Peña has a detention hearing at 10:20 a.m. on Jan. 23 in front of District 2 Judge Brett Loveless.