Following his defeat in the 2022 midterm elections, a former GOP candidate in New Mexico was charged federally in connection with a string of shootings at the houses of Democratic politicians, according to court filings.
According to a grand jury indictment that was unsealed on Wednesday, Solomon Pea, 40, is accused of conspiring, interfering with operations that are protected by the federal government, and using a machine gun among other firearm-related offenses.
The US Department of Justice stated in a news release that Pea is accused by prosecutors of visiting the homes of at least three Bernalillo County commissioners and pleading with them not to certify the election results on the grounds that there had been election fraud after losing his bid for the New Mexico House of Representatives in November.
Pea allegedly hired other people to carry out the shootings and did at least one of them himself after the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners certified the results of the election. According to the announcement, at least three shootings took place while the victims’ children and other family members were present at home.
Albuquerque police have reported that among the Democratic leaders whose homes were shot at were Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, recently elected state House Speaker Javier Martinez, and state Sen. Linda Lopez, however, the victims’ names were omitted in the indictment. Police have reported that no one was hurt in the gunfire.
The DOJ estimates that Pea will spend a minimum of 60 years in prison if found guilty on all charges.
CNN confirms the news on its Twitter account:
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 bidhttps://t.co/LoLqCZv8Gl
— CNN (@CNN) June 1, 2023
Pea has entered a not-guilty plea to all of the conspiracy and weapons allegations that he is facing in New Mexico.
He hadn’t yet made an appearance in court to answer to the federal accusations as of Wednesday. According to internet records, Pea was still being held without bond at the Bernalillo County Jail as of Wednesday night.
A district court judge decided that Pea must remain in jail while he awaits trial after his arrest in January on the grounds that Pea poses a threat to the shooting targets and their families.
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