A failed Republican candidate who authorities said was angry

A failed Republican candidate who authorities said was angry

A failed Republican candidate who authorities stated was offended over his defeat and made baseless claims the election final November was “rigged” towards him was arrested in reference to a collection of drive-by shootings concentrating on the houses of Democratic lawmakers in New Mexico’s largest metropolis.

Solomon Pena, 39, was arrested Monday night, simply hours after SWAT officers took him into custody and served search warrants at his house, police stated.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina described Pena because the “mastermind” of what he stated seems to be a politically motivated conspiracy resulting in shootings on the houses of two county commissioners and two state legislators between early December and early January.

Nobody was injured within the shootings however in a single case three bullets handed by the bed room of a state senator’s 10-year-old daughter.

Pena ran unsuccessfully in November towards incumbent state Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, the longtime Democrat representing Home District 14 within the South Valley. Garcia gained by 48 proportion factors, or roughly 3,600 votes.

After the election, police stated, Pena confirmed up uninvited on the elected officers’ houses with what he claimed had been paperwork proving he had gained his race. There was no proof of widespread voter fraud in New Mexico in 2020 or 2022.

The shootings started shortly after these conversations.

“Any such radicalism is a menace to our nation and has made its strategy to our doorstep proper right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Mayor Tim Keller stated. “However I do know we’re going to push again, and we is not going to permit this to cross the edge.”

4 males conspired with Pena, who’s accused of paying them money to hold out no less than two of the drive-by shootings in stolen automobiles, whereas Pena “pulled the set off” throughout one of many crimes, Deputy Police Commander Kyle Hartsock stated.

Detectives recognized Pena as their key suspect utilizing a mixture of cellphone and car data, witness interviews and bullet casings collected on the lawmakers’ houses, police stated. His arrest got here one week after Medina introduced that they had recognized a suspect within the shootings.

A lawyer for Pena who might touch upon the allegations wasn’t listed Monday night time in jail data.

Nobody was injured within the shootings, which unfolded amid an increase in threats to members of Congress, college board members, election officers and different authorities staff across the nation. In Albuquerque, regulation enforcement has struggled to deal with back-to-back years of document homicides and chronic gun violence.

The shootings started Dec. 4, when eight rounds had been fired on the house of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa. Days later, state Rep. Javier Martinez’s house was focused, adopted by a Dec. 11 capturing on the house of Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley. Greater than a dozen rounds had been fired at her house, police stated.

The ultimate associated capturing, concentrating on state Sen. Linda Lopez’s house, unfolded within the midnight hour of Jan. 3. Police stated greater than a dozen pictures had been fired and Lopez stated three of the bullets handed by her 10-year-old daughter’s bed room.

Investigators obtained a break within the case after expertise that may detect the sound of gunfire led an officer to Lopez’s neighborhood shortly after the pictures had been fired.

The officer discovered bullet casings matching a handgun discovered later that morning in a Nissan Maxima registered to Pena. Round 1:30 a.m., about an hour after the capturing at Lopez’s house, police stopped the Nissan about 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the lawmaker’s neighborhood.

The motive force, recognized Monday night time as Jose Trujillo, was arrested on an excellent warrant, resulting in the invention of greater than 800 fentanyl tablets and two firearms within the automobile, police stated.

A prison grievance outlining the precise fees towards the previous political candidate was anticipated to be launched within the coming days. Further arrests and fees additionally had been anticipated, however police declined to elaborate, citing the continued investigation.

Detectives additionally had been investigating two further shootings they initially believed may very well be related to the Pena case: one within the neighborhood of New Mexico Legal professional Common Raul Torrez’s former marketing campaign workplace and one other at state Sen. Antonio Maestas’ workplace. Police on Monday stated the shootings don’t seem like related.

The New Mexico Republican Celebration condemned Pena in an announcement Monday night time. “If Pena is discovered responsible, he should be prosecuted to the total extent of the regulation.”

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