Failed Republican Candidate Allegedly Hired Gunman for Drive-by Spree on Democrats – RedState

Failed Republican Candidate Allegedly Hired Gunman for Drive-by Spree on Democrats – RedState

A man has pleaded guilty to charges related to his involvement in a plot to conduct a series of drive-by shootings targeting Democratic politicians in New Mexico. The Justice Department announced the defendant’s plea on Friday in a press release.

This case is further complicated by the fact that those who carried out the shootings were allegedly hired to do so by a failed Republican candidate for political reasons. The Justice Department issued a statement explaining the plea and the circumstances surrounding the case.

Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Demetrio Trujillo pled guilty to conspiracy, two counts of interference with federally protected activities, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and discharging said firearm. Trujillo, 42, will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Trujillo on May 24, 2023, along with his son, Jose Louise Trujillo, and Solomon Peña. According to court records, Trujillo met Peña through acquaintances and knew that Peña campaigned to become the District 14 representative in the New Mexico House of Representatives in 2022. Following his electoral defeat in November 2022, Peña claimed to Trujillo and others that the election had been rigged against him. Peña decided to pressure members of the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners to refuse to certify the results of the election and offered to pay Trujillo to help him.

On November 21, 2022, the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners voted to certify the results of the election that Peña lost. At that time, Peña and Trujillo decided to move forward with Peña’s plan to intimidate his political targets. On Dec. 4, 2022, Peña paid Trujillo to shoot a firearm at the private residence of a former candidate for elective office that Peña had chosen as a target for intimidation. On Dec. 8, 2022, Peña paid Trujillo to shoot a firearm at the private residence of another former candidate for elective office to intimidate the target from campaigning as a candidate. On Jan. 3, 2023, Peña and Trujillo drove to the residence of a third individual who Peña had targeted because they were a former candidate for elective office and carried out a shooting to [intimidate] the target from campaigning.

At sentencing, Trujillo faces up to life in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release and may be ordered to pay fines not to exceed $1 million.

Solomon Peña is currently scheduled to stand trial in June 2024.

Trujillo’s guilty plea provides a concrete link back to Peña and will undoubtedly play a role in his trial later this year.

It is believed that Peña “orchestrated drive-by shootings at the homes of Democratic officials” because he lost his campaign for the state legislature.

It is also worth noting that the shootings seemed intended only to scare their targets rather than actually inflicting harm. However, it does highlight the growing threat of political violence that seems to be cropping up in the U.S.

This incident prompts a troubling question: Is political violence becoming more commonplace in the United States? With the widespread unrest that occurred after the George Floyd riots, the Jan. 6 protests, and other incidents of politically motivated violence, it would seem this is the case. With political rhetoric becoming even more incendiary and social media providing more ways for people to express themselves, it would not be surprising to see more examples in the not-too-distant future.

Originally Posted on: https://redstate.com/jeffc/2024/02/04/failed-republican-candidate-allegedly-hires-gunman-for-drive-by-spree-on-democrats-n2169631
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