A man convicted of conspiring with others in an effort to help Paulo Virgen Mendoza flee California to Mexico after he allegedly killed Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh during a Dec. 26, 2018 traffic stop has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.
Erik Quiroz Razo, 28, an illegal alien from Michoacan, Mexico who was residing in Merced, was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 15 in federal court, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
“The murder of a police officer in the line of duty is an assault on the entire community. This defendant, a convicted felon and previously deported alien, played a critical role in helping a man accused of killing a police officer to elude apprehension,” Scott commented. “He disposed of the murder weapon, and he urged those close to him to not tell anyone about his activities. The successful prosecution of this defendant sends a message to the community that this behavior will not be tolerated.”
Last September, a jury found Razo, a friend of Paulo Virgen Mendoza, and Conrado Virgen Mendoza, 34, a brother of the accused killer, guilty of assisting Paulo Virgen Mendoza after the murder.
Evidence at the trial established that Razo helped Paulo Virgen Mendoza conceal the truck he was driving at the time of Singh’s murder, disposed of the firearm used to kill the officer and lied to Stanislaus County sheriff’s investigators about Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s whereabouts, the U.S. District Attorney’s office reported.
A court hearing for Conrado Virgen Mendoza was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21, during which his sentencing date was to be set. Conrado Virgen Mendoza, an illegal alien from Colima, Mexico who had been living in Chowchilla, faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to aid his brother’s flight from authorities.
Seven people were initially arrested on suspicion of aiding Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s effort to flee.
Three defendants charged with aiding the accused killer after the murder pleaded guilty to charges in the case and were previously sentenced.
Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s girlfriend, Ana Leydi Cervantes Sanchez, who was living with Paulo Virgen Mendoza in the Newman area, was sentenced one year and one day in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to aid and abet Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s flight to avoid prosecution for murder, conspiring to harbor an illegal alien and harboring an illegal alien.
Paulo Mendoza’s brother Adrian Virgen Mendoza pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid and abet his brother’s flight to avoid prosecution for murder and was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison.
Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, a relative of Paulo Virgen Mendoza, entered a guilty plea to the conspiracy and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.
Two others were acquitted of the charges against them.