A federal jury in Fresno convicted two illegal immigrants Monday of attempting to help the accused killer of Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh flee to Mexico, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

Paulo Virgen Mendoza, a Mexican national living illegally in Newman, allegedly killed Singh during a traffic stop on Dec. 26 of last year.


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— Paulo Virgen Mendoza

President Donald Trump has cited Singh’s killing as an example of why the United States should build a wall along its southern border with Mexico.

Virgen Mendoza’s brother, Conrado Virgen Mendoza, 34, an illegal immigrant from Colima, Mexico, residing in Chowchilla; and a friend, Erik Quiroz Razo, 28, an illegal immigrant from Michoacán, Mexico, residing in Merced, were found guilty of conspiring to aid and abet Virgen Mendoza’s flight to avoid prosecution for murder.

Conrado Virgen Mendoza and Razo are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on Jan. 13, 2020. They face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sentences for Three Other Accomplices

In addition, three other illegal immigrants who tried to smuggle Virgen Mendoza out of California and into Mexico have been sentenced after pleading guilty to federal charges:

  • Virgen Mendoza’s girlfriend, Ana Leydi Cervantes Sanchez, 31, an illegal immigrant from Michoacán, Mexico, who was living with Virgen Mendoza in Newman, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison after admitting to conspiring to aid her boyfriend’s flight and other federal charges.
  • Adrian Virgen Mendoza, 26, an illegal immigrant from Colima, Mexico, admitted to conspiring to aid and abet his brother’s flight to avoid prosecution for murder and was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
  • Bernabe Madrigal Castañeda, 60, an illegal immigrant from Colima, Mexico, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

Two Acquited but Face Deportation

The jury acquitted two other family members, Erasmo Villegas Suarez, 36, and Maria Luisa Moreno, 57, both of the Bakersfield-Lamont area.

However, Suarez and Moreno face deportation proceedings. Suarez also faces federal charges involving fraudulent identification documents.

Paulo Virgen Mendoza used the alias Gustavo Perez Arriaga and some stories about the Singh killing and Virgen Mendoza’s subsequent arrest refer to him by that name.

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