February 3, 2024 - A New Mexico man pleaded guilty on Thursday to his role in shootings that targeted the residences of elected officials following the 2022 election.
According to court documents, following Solomon Peña’s electoral defeat in November 2022 for a seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives, Demetrio Trujillo, 42, of Albuquerque, along with his son, Jose Trujillo, were recruited by Peña to engage in a series of targeted shootings of residences belonging to elected officials. Peña allegedly pressured members of the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners to refuse to certify the results of the election, but despite Peña’s alleged pressure, the commissioners certified the results of the election. In response, in his plea agreement, Demetrio Trujillo admitted that Peña paid him to drive to the home of an election official on Dec. 4, 2022, and fire a gun at the residence. Peña then paid Demetrio Trujillo to carry out a shooting at the residence of an elected state official who ran for and won reelection in 2022, which Trujillo did on Dec. 8, 2022. Then, on Jan. 3, 2023, Trujillo, along with his son and Peña, carried out a shooting at the residence of a second elected state official. The victims’ residences were targeted because the individuals were election officials and/or former candidates for elective office.
Demetrio Trujillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy, two counts of interference with federally protected activities, one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and discharging said firearm. Demetrio Trujillo will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has been scheduled for May 1. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jose Trujillo pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to conspiracy, interference with federally protected activities, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, discharging said firearm, and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. Related charges against Peña remain pending and are scheduled for trial in June.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez for the District of New Mexico, Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated the case with the Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
Trial Attorney Ryan Crosswell 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.
This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers — whether elected, appointed, or volunteer — are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and has investigated and prosecuted these matters where appropriate, in partnership with FBI field offices and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. A year after its formation, the task force is continuing this work and supporting the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI Field Offices nationwide as they carry on the critical work that the task force has begun.
Under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Monaco, the task force is led by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and includes several other entities within the Justice Department, including the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the Civil Rights Division, the National Security Division, and the FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. For more information regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, read the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.
To report suspected threats or violent acts, contact your local FBI Field Office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. Contact information for every FBI field office may be found at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices. You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at tips.fbi.gov. Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the task force and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If someone is in imminent danger or risk of harm, contact 911 or your local police immediately.Source: DOJ Release