ALBUQUERQUE — Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced Thursday that an indictment was unsealed charging Solomon Peña and his accomplices, Demetrio Trujillo and Jose Trujillo, for a shooting spree targeting the homes of four elected officials. A federal grand jury indicted all three defendants May 24, 2023.
Solomon Peña, 40, 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. If convicted, Peña faces up to life in prison. Peña is currently in state custody on related charges.
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. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for June 8. If convicted, Jose faces up to life in prison.
Demetrio Trujillo, 41, 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. An initial appearance has been scheduled for June 1. If convicted, Demetrio faces up to life in prison.
According to the indictment, Peña ran for District 14 of the New Mexico House of Representatives during the November 2022 mid-term elections. Following his electoral defeat in November 2022, Peña allegedly organized the shootings on the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two New Mexico state legislators. The shootings were carried out between Dec. 4, 2022, and Jan. 3, with assistance from his co-defendants.
“In America, the integrity of our voting system is sacrosanct,” U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez said. “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.”
“There is no room in our democracy for politically motivated violence, especially when it is used to undermine election results,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As alleged, Solomon Peña orchestrated four shootings at the homes of elected officials, in part because of their refusal to overturn his election defeat. Such violent actions target not only the homes and families of elected officials, but also our election system as a whole. The department will not hesitate to hold individuals accountable for acts of politically motivated violence.”
“Solomon Pena and the other defendants carried out the hatred in their hearts by targeting a group of the community’s public officials.” Raul Bujanda, FBI Special Agent in Charge said. “These charges illustrate that the FBI will relentlessly work with our law enforcement partners to actively investigate and pursue prosecution of those individuals who threaten and harm our elected officials.”
“APD worked tirelessly with our federal partners to bring those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice,” Chief Harold Medina said. “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.”
“ATF is dedicated to combatting the senseless firearm violence that plagues our nation,” said Brendan Iber, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Phoenix Field Division. “We will always work with our law enforcement partners to identify and remove those violent offenders from our communities.”
An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with the Albuquerque Police Department and the assistant of 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 prosecuting the case.