ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) — When the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office stopped Jose Trujillo Jan. 3, the agency had no idea they were beginning to solve the case that would become a national headline. Trujillo would lead them to the man behind the shootings at the homes of four Democratic politicians.
Albuquerque Police announced their investigation into the shootings two days after Trujillo’s arrest. But he wasn’t on their radar yet. Phone calls Trujillo made from jail showed he was concerned he was about to be.
Trujillo’s first call from the Metropolitan Detention Center was to a family member. He immediately asked her to get in touch with Solomon Peña. “Nevertheless, you have to do me a favor. Call my dad and have him call Solomon and talk to him about hiring a lawyer,” he told her.
Trujillo made a total of seven calls to three people over two days. He repeated this request to each of them. “I just need a lawyer ASAP,” he told another woman.
He also wanted to know if the police had the right to search his car after he was arrested. He asked the women he called to “do some research” to find out the answer. “That’s a shit lie. And I told them, ‘No, you can’t take stock.’ I thought the car was already locked and on the property,” Trujillo explained.
BCSO stopped Trujillo for an expired registration. The deputy let his name out and learned that Trujillo had a warrant out for his arrest for failing to show up for a court hearing in a stalking case last fall.
Before the car was towed away, MPs took stock. It’s a requirement, they told Trujillo, to confirm the towing company isn’t taking anything. What they found revealed why Trujillo was so upset.
He said to one of the women he called, “They caught me with 493 beans in a bag and then they caught me with 364 in another bag.” That’s almost 900 fentanyl pills. Deputies also found a wad of more than $3,000 in cash and two firearms. It’s clear why Trujillo was so fixated on the legality of the search.
Trujillo: Call Solomon and tell him to put the money on my street because I’m the reason he got pulled over for his stupid license plate.
Woman: OK, yes.
Trujillo: Because yes, stupid registration sticker.
The car belonged to Peña. The calls proved that they know each other. And one of the confiscated guns broke the case of APD. A ballistics test linked the Glock to the shooting at Senator Linda Lopez’s home. According to APD, the shooting happened just 40 minutes before Trujillo was stopped.
Investigators believe he is one of the four gunmen involved in Peña’s plot. Trujillo remains in custody, but he is in a federal prison. The FBI took Trujillo’s case and charged him with possession of a machine gun, possession with intent to distribute more than 40 grams but less than 400 grams of fentanyl, and possession of a firearm to further a drug trafficking crime.
APD said Peña paid Trujillo’s father, Demetrio, $500 to conduct the shootings. On one of the calls Trujillo made from MDC, he tried to reach his father, but he didn’t answer.