Investigators found no evidence that the man who was found passed out in a car in Torrance with hundreds of recall election ballots planned to participate in election fraud, police said Tuesday.
The man, 34-year-old Eduardo Mena of Hawthorne, was arrested on Aug. 16, 2021 after he was spotted in a vehicle parked in the lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store.
Inside the car, police found about 300 ballots, a loaded firearm, methamphetamine, thousands of pieces of mail, multiple California drivers licenses and credit cards in other people’s names, authorities said.
He was indicted on charges of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession of stolen mail and being a felon in possession of ammunition, according to police.
The discovery came the same day that absentee ballots were mailed out to registered California voters for the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Since finding the man with the ballots, investigators have for months gone through electronic and physical evidence in an attempt to figure out what he intended to do with the ballots.
“After reviewing all of that evidence, investigators have not uncovered any evidence indicating Mena intended to engage in any type of election fraud,” Torrance police officials said in a news release.
They did, however, find evidence that Mena was involved in schemes to commit bank fraud and identity theft, police added.
The election ballots were among many other pieces of mail stolen from a United States Postal Service vehicle, authorities said.
Mena remains in custody on state charges in connection with an unrelated case.