Over the past few weeks, a self-proclaimed “progressive” calling himself Chris Edwards — also known as “Martin Christopher Edwards” — has been launching vicious attacks against conservatives, specifically pro-lifers who he opposes in Alamogordo. They include conservative Alamogordo City Commissioner Karl Melton and myself, the Republican nominee for New Mexico House District 51.
Edwards has a so-called media operation that is seeking to mislead Otero County Republicans and infiltrate our conservative community with far-left radicalism. Beyond his “progressive” views, Edwards is also a convicted felon with a long criminal record who had fled to Mexico, suffers from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, according to his attorney, and has actively promoted Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with longstanding support for Planned Parenthood.
Otero County Republicans should read on to learn the dangers of this shady individual and should also be wary of trusting anything published by Edwards’ blog “2nd Life Media” and a publication Edwards is closely connected with, “New Mexico’s Influence Magazine.”
Chris Edwards’ Far-Leftist Activities
Edwards is a fervent supporter of Planned Parenthood and social justice causes. He is pro-lockdown and pro-Dr. Fauci. Edwards says he has “consulted” on at least two local Democrat candidate campaigns in the 2022 Primary and General elections. He claims his clients include pro-abortion judge candidates Rev. Warren Robinson and Claudia Powell. Despite the claims, according to finance reports, Edwards is on neither of the candidates’ payrolls.
As he wrote on his own website, in 2020, Edwards “aligned” with two left-wing organizations to attack conservative candidates via “opposition research” and previously publicly shamed donors to a political action committee that supported a ballot measure he opposed. On his LinkedIn profile, he writes that he “has demonstrated results in crafting opposition negative campaign ads,” along with “opposition marketing tactics.”
He is the “co-owner” and “CEO” of an entity called 2nd Life Media/ ROADRUNNER EMPORIUM Inc. on New York Avenue in Alamogordo, according to a filing with the New Mexico Secretary of State. The other owner is his partner, a man named Rene Lee Sepulveda.
According to Edwards’ blog, “2nd Life Media Inc is a vertically integrated consulting and operating company.” He calls it a “multimedia and consulting company” partnered with “Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts, Antiques and More Gallery, Gallery 1209, and via the soon to be revitalized Sands Theater Partnership.”
A twice-failed candidate for Napa City Council in California, Edwards was accused in his previous races of “dirty politics” for misleading elderly voters during candidate forums.
Dee Cuney, a woman who attended Edwards’ controversial forum, said, “It’s very, very disappointing that people were misled,” adding, “That’s dirty stuff.”
Edwards has posted on his Facebook page a multitude of “LGBTQ+” pride content, anti-Trump posts, support for the ANTIFA-linked Black Lives Matter hate group, and photos with Democrat politicians and activists, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and George Takei. Other posts include photos reading “#IStandwithPP” (Planned Parenthood) and “Unapologetically Pro-Choice (Abortion),” support for failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former President Obama, posts reading, “I stand with Fauci,” “I support DACA,” among others disparaging conservatives and promoting far-left politics. Yet Edwards is trying to dupe conservatives into believing he is an “independent” voice. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Edwards’ Long Criminal History
Along with his “dirty” left-wing political activity, Edwards has a years-long past of criminal activity, pleading guilty and being convicted of felony mail fraud and tax evasion in 2014. The Department of Justice charged him after he was wanted by the FBI as a fugitive for 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The “fraudster,” as the Bureau put it, was finally apprehended after fleeing to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, seven months following his failure to appear in federal court. He was found at Hacienda Escondida Private Villas, where he claimed to work as a “sales marketing director,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
The Department of Justice charged Edwards, and he was found guilty of embezzling $900,000 between May 2010 and October 2012 from his employer, the online fulfillment wine company, The Wine Tasting Network, a subsidiary of 1-800 Flowers. He did this by directing the network to make large payments through a fake entity he set up called Dufrane Compliance Trust. The Department of Justice said that the fictitious entity “purported to provide compliance services to wineries and wine retailers.”
According to the FBI, “Edwards … deposited these funds into an account he controlled and withdrew them for his own personal use, including the purchase of a BMW, which has since been seized by law enforcement authorities.” Along with the BMW, Edwards used the embezzled funds for “ expensive vacations and lavish meals.” According to Edwards’ Twitter account, he spent time on vacation in such places as Hawaii. He claims to have “traveled to 46 countries.”
One portion of Edwards’ criminal indictment reads, “MARTIN CHRISTOPHER EDWARDS, did knowingly and intentionally devise a scheme … to defraud, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses … and concealment were false and fraudulent when made, and, for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice, did knowingly cause the following items to be sent and delivered by the United States Postal Service, and private and commercial interstate carriers (emphasis added).”
According to the Napa Daily Register, Edwards’ lawyer claimed during the trial, “Edwards suffered from chronic depression, a bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol addictions, all of which contributed to his compromised judgment.” Whether or not Edwards is currently treated for bipolar disorder is unknown.
Edwards was sentenced in September 2014 to nearly three years (33 months) in federal prison and ordered to pay $894,222 in restitution to the Wine Tasting Network. Bay City News reported that prosecutors “said Edwards did not declare any of the [embezzled] money on his federal income tax returns in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Edwards’ plea agreement also included an enhancement for obstruction of justice for a flight he took to Mexico to avoid prosecution.”
This is not the first run-in Edwards had with the law.
Previously, Edwards was convicted of two misdemeanors for larceny-theft in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. He was initially charged with two felony counts of embezzlement for defrauding the fast food company Hardees, where he worked at the time in its corporate offices, “but Edwards agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of larceny for an amount more than $200 and was ordered to pay restitution,” according to the Daily Register.
The news of his previous conviction came out during Edwards’ failed 2005 run for Napa City Council, where he said he was “dismayed that public records still contain information about his conviction,” according to the newspaper. With his later 2014 conviction, it appears Edwards did not change from his old ways.
Edwards Attacking Alamogordo Conservatives
Edwards has recently transplanted himself to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he admits to pushing progressivism in the heavily conservative area, including viciously attacking conservative candidates and pro-life policymakers who are moving the community forward.
The attacks ramped up as Alamogordo City Commissioner Melton proposed, and the Commission successfully passed a resolution declaring Alamogordo a sanctuary city for the unborn in August. The only two dissenting votes came from Mayor Susan Payne and Commissioner Sharon McDonald. Payne insisted she is “100 percent pro-life” but refused to support a resolution protecting life.
A long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, Edwards wrote in 2017, “I have supported the missions of Planned Parenthood for years,” while bashing pro-life sidewalk counselors outside of abortion clinics as “extremist.” He added in the post, “ I stand pink to show my support of Planned Parenthood.”
Apparently angered that Alamogordo stood up for the lives of the unborn, he attempted unsuccessfully to elevate pro-abortion organizers’ petition demanding a special election for a referendum on the pro-life resolution.
After the pro-abortion petitioners, calling themselves “New Voices Otero,” failed to reach the mere 589 signature goal despite having 30 days to organize, Edwards wrote a blog post viciously attacking Commissioner Melton and myself, paying homage to his former days of “dirty politics” in Napa. He claimed criticisms of the mayor were “propaganda” despite her vote against the pro-life resolution and her signature prominently featured on a petition, which bashed the commission that she oversees as “extremist.”
Increasingly angered by his political loss when the petitioners’ signatures were thrown out by the City Clerk, Edwards decided to attack me, claiming with absolutely no evidence that I or someone affiliated with me sent copies of his federal indictment to unknown individuals via the U.S. Postal Service. Now, Edwards is falsely claiming mail fraud, when in actuality, he spent years in federal prison after being convicted of not only mail fraud but also tax evasion and larceny, among other crimes. Mr. Edwards appears to be projecting his own previous criminality. If such letters did, indeed, get sent out, the plausible suspect would be himself.
After Edwards’ attacks against myself and Commissioner Melton fell flat, Edwards filed a slew of frivolous Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) requests with the City of Alamogordo, attempting to undermine the premise of the resolution, claiming there was no support for it. In the process, Edwards doxxed a local resident who requested Commissioner Melton propose the measure. He posted in a blog entry a screenshot of an email showing personal information about where she lived and even published her unredacted email address.
For someone who claims to be so invested in Alamogordo and has so much at stake, he seems fine with wasting city staff’s time and money with his manic IPRA requests.
In one subsequent unhinged blog post, Edwards got confused and falsely accused Commissioner Melton of submitting a September IPRA request under my name, despite not checking the signature. A simple signature match could have proven he was incorrect. Still, he published the defamatory article anyway without a hint of fact-checking. More Napa Valley “dirty politics.”
Edwards has continued to attempt to lace together conspiracy theories about Commissioner Melton, who owns a legitimate conservative consulting service, Conservative Compliance LLC, unlike Edwards’ fictitious Dufrane Compliance Trust that defrauded nearly $1 million. Edwards cooked up multiple far-out conspiracies through his “2nd Life Media” Facebook account. One such false claim was that Conservative Compliance’s client list included County Commissioner Couy Griffin, even though that would legally be required to be reported to the Secretary of State’s office.
While trying to shift the topic after his theories disintegrated, Edwards ended up claiming that non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations are a “tax dodging ploy” in the apparent attempt to attack non-profit pro-life groups. His baseless theories seem to be a projection of his days sitting behind bars for tax evasion.
In one of Edwards’ Facebook posts, it shows an image of him with a filter reading, “I pay more taxes than Trump,” ironic since his lack of paying taxes when he systematically defrauded 1-800 Flowers landed him behind bars for nearly three years.
Edwards wrote in one of his blog posts that he will not quit harassing conservatives in Alamogordo until “they rise to the occasion of true leadership, end the attacks on those that differ in opinion and embrace open dialog with a civil tone to seek areas of compromise for a better Alamogordo.”
If only Edwards would take his own advice and end his obsessive attacks against people fighting to move Alamogordo forward and represent the conservative values of our community.
Now, the far-left Chris Edwards continues to ignore his self-righteous standards and instead launch vicious attacks against Alamogordo conservatives. As he keeps attacking with his Napa Valley-style “dirty” smears and promoting abortion up-to-birth/LGBTQ+ groups, locals should watch carefully the many ventures he is closely affiliated with. That includes a new magazine, “New Mexico’s Influence Magazine,” and the businesses he has purported to own or operate. At face value, the magazine attempts to come off as even-handed. However, knowing “progressive” Edwards is behind it, conservatives should use extreme caution.
More information will be released in due course on individuals such as Edwards; This first report just scratches the surface. New Mexicans must continue to be vigilant of leftists, many with crime-filled, shady pasts, attempting to implement far-left California policies into our conservative community.
As Edwards wrote in one post, “We are working to change the extremism, But we need the help and support of progressive businesses like those downtown Roadrunner Emporium, ReneFit, New York Art and Music Studio, the Game Shop on New York and others.”
What exactly is the “extremism” Edwards is trying to cut out of Alamogordo, and how exactly does he intend to do this through “progressive” businesses, many of which he has a financial interest in? It is still unclear if the $894,222 ordered in restitution for Edwards’ embezzlement has yet been paid.
While the facts presented in this article have been extensively verified for correctness and accuracy, the author’s recommendations on actions Otero County conservatives should take are purely opinion.