By Paradise Afshar and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN
(CNN) — A former GOP candidate in New Mexico has been indicted on federal charges in connection to a spate of shootings at Democratic officials’ homes after he lost his 2022 midterm election bid, court documents show.
Solomon Peña, 40, is charged with conspiracy, interference with federally protected activities and several firearms charges, including the use of a machine gun, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday.
After his defeat in a November run for the New Mexico House of Representatives, prosecutors accuse Peña of going to the homes of at least three Bernalillo County commissioners and urging them not to certify the election results, claiming there had been election fraud, the US Department of Justice said in a news release.
“Following the Bernalillo County board of commissioners’ certification of the vote, Peña allegedly hired others to conduct the shootings and carried out at least one of the shootings himself. At least three of the shootings occurred while children and other relatives of the victims were at home,” the release said.
Though victims’ names were withheld in the indictment, Albuquerque police have said Democratic officials whose homes were shot at included Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, newly installed state House Speaker Javier Martinez, and state Sen. Linda Lopez, among others. No one was injured in the shootings, police have said.
If convicted on all charges, Peña faces a mandatory minimum of 60 years in prison, according to the DOJ.
CNN has reached out to Peña’s attorney, Roberta Yurcic, for comment.
Peña also faces several conspiracy and firearms charges in New Mexico, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
As of Wednesday, he had not yet appeared in court to face the federal charges. Peña was still detained without bond at the Bernalillo County Jail Wednesday evening, online records show.
After Peña was arrested in January, a district court judge ruled that that he must remain in jail as he awaits trial, arguing that Peña poses a threat to the shooting targets and their families.
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