Co-worker sentenced for helping hide man accused of killing Newman officer

Local News

(KTXL) — Another person was sentenced Wednesday for their role in hiding and helping Paulo Virgen Mendoza following the shooting death of Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh.

Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s pickup truck after it was found by law enforcement officials.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports Erik Quiroz Razo, a co-worker of Virgen Mendoza, was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Quiroz helped Virgen Mendoza in his attempt to reach Mexico after he was accused of shooting and killing Cpl. Singh during a traffic stop.

Last September, Quiroz, a 28-year-old Mexican national who illegally entered the U.S. in 2011, and Virgen Mendoza’s brother were found guilty of conspiring to aid and abet Virgen Mendoza.

Authorities say Quiroz tried to hide the pickup truck stopped by Singh and the firearm used to kill him. Officials also say he took Virgen Mendoza to a Merced County dairy farm and lied to deputies when asked about Virgen Mendoza’s whereabouts.

“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,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott. “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.”

The dairy farm in El Nido authorities say Erik Quiroz Razo took Paulo Virgen Mendoza to. A SWAT team would later search the area and come up empty.

Two days after Singh’s killing, Virgen Mendoza, who went by the alias Gustavo Perez Arriaga, was found and arrested at a house near Bakersfield. He has since pleaded not guilty to killing the Newman officer.

His brother Conrado Virgen Mendoza’s sentencing date is expected to be set Jan. 21. He is just one of several relatives and friends who authorities say helped Virgen Mendoza try to get to Mexico.

Conrado could face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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