*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with clarifying info from APD.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Facing charges for allegedly planning the shootings at four Albuquerque elected officials homes, former Republican House candidate Solomon Peña is now facing an investigation over campaign contributions. Albuquerque Police detectives believe there may be “potential illegal activity” related to those contributions.
The department announced the investigation Thursday. Peña is currently being held in jail awaiting trial on charges related to the shootings.
APD says the new investigation is tied to monetary contributions Peña solicited during his 2022 House campaign. Peña lost to Democratic incumbent Miguel Garcia by more than 3,600 votes in the November midterm election for New Mexico House District 14.
APD says that witness interviews reveal that “Peña identified individuals to funnel contributions from an unknown source to his legislative campaign.” According to the department, 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.”
“One of the suspects in the shootings, Jose Trujillo, donated $5,150 to Pena’s campaign last year,” a police press release notes. “Trujillo’s occupation was listed in campaign finance reports as a cashier. Trujillo’s mother, Melanie Griego, also donated $4,000 to the campaign. Those contributions, listing the same Southwest Albuquerque address, represent nearly 40% of the money raised by Peña.”
Trujillo was arrested by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) on a felony warrant on January 3, the same night as a shooting at Senator Linda Lopez’s home. The arresting deputy found two firearms (one of which has been connected to the shooting at Sen. Lopez’s home), several magazines of ammo, 893 fentanyl pills, and $3,036 in cash, according to APD. The BCSO officer concluded that the items were consistent with those possessed by someone dealing narcotics, and Trujillo was booked on Jan. 3, 2023.
Publicly available 2022 campaign finance data from the New Mexico Secretary of State shows that Jose Trujillo donated to Peña. The finance reports show that most of the donations were made via WinRed, a Republican fundraising platform. While WinRed no longer lists Peña as a candidate, a WinRed page selling Peña yard signs is still online as of publication.
KRQE News 13 reached out to APD to find out if APD is looking into the WinRed platform. Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos says that the police department is looking into the contributions. It’s not clear if any other agencies, such as federal investigators, are looking at the platform more specifically.
KRQE News 13 also reached out to WinRed for comment on allegations that potentially illegal campaign funds may have been sent on the platform. As of publication, they have not responded.