The former Republican candidate who allegedly masterminded the shooting of four houses of Democrats was ordered to remain in pre-trial detention during a hearing in Second Judicial District Court on Monday. Judge Brett Loveless granted prosecutors’ motion to keep Solomon Peña, 39, in pre-trial detention for a charge of receipt, transportation or possession of a firearm or destructive device by certain persons. Peña remains incarcerated at Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque. The charge is among 15 charges against Peña in the case of four drive-by shootings at Democratic politician’s homes in December and January. Peña was 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.
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.
Speaker of the House Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque, opened up about the recent shootings of houses owned by Democratic politicians in Albuquerque, including his own. Martinez held a press briefing prior to the opening of the legislative session on Tuesday. “It’s long overdue, that we lower the temperature,” Martinez said. “These are the things that can happen when rhetoric gets out of hand. I am incredibly grateful to the Albuquerque Police Department, to (Albuquerque) Mayor (Tim) Keller and to all of those who played a role in protecting our safety and ensuring that our democracy remains intact.”
Martinez expressed alarm that the shootings occurred.
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina announced Monday evening, on the eve of the 2022 legislative session, that police arrested a former Republican candidate for office in relation to the shootings at the homes of Albuquerque Democrats. Albuquerque police say Solomon Peña, 39, conspired with and paid four other men to shoot at the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two legislators.
Peña ran for state House District 14 as a Republican in 2022, losing to incumbent Democrat Miguel Garcia. “This type of radicalism is a threat to our nation and has made its way to our doorstep here in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said at the press conference. Peña was arrested following a SWAT situation near downtown Albuquerque when he was served at his residence. “Earlier today, the Albuquerque Police Department SWAT team took Solomon Peña [into] custody in reference to the shootings and he is the mastermind that was behind this and organizing this,” Medina said at the news conference.