Man aided sus­pect af­ter of­fi­cer’s slay­ing

Antelope Valley Press - - NEWS -

SACRA­MENTO (AP) — A man who was in the United States il­le­gally was sen­tenced to 21 months in prison Wed­nes­day for help­ing a sus­pect try to es­cape to his na­tive Mex­ico af­ter of­fi­cials say he killed a Cal­i­for­nia po­lice of­fi­cer.

Erik Quiroz Razo, 28, of Merced, had faced a max­i­mum of five years in prison for aid­ing and abet­ting Paulo Vir­gen Men­doza, who is charged with mur­der in the Dec. 26, 2018, shoot­ing death of Cpl. Ronil Singh dur­ing a traf­fic stop.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump had used the case to back his call for tougher bor­der se­cu­rity dur­ing a dis­pute with con­gres­sional Democrats over fund­ing for a bor­der wall. Stanis­laus County Sher­iff Adam Chris­tian­son pre­vi­ously said Cal­i­for­nia’s sanc­tu­ary law pre­vented author­i­ties from re­port­ing Men­doza to im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials for pos­si­ble de­por­ta­tion af­ter two pre­vi­ous drunken driv­ing ar­rests.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say Singh, who worked for the tiny New­man Po­lice Depart­ment,

stopped Men­doza on sus­pi­cion of drunken driv­ing be­fore he was killed. Men­doza has pleaded not guilty.

A fed­eral jury in Septem­ber con­victed Quiroz of con­ceal­ing the truck Men­doza was driv­ing, dis­pos­ing of the firearm used to kill the of­fi­cer, and ly­ing to Stanis­laus County deputies.

The same jury also con­victed Men­doza’s brother, Con­rado Vir­gen Men­doza, 34, of Chowchilla, who awaits sen­tenc­ing on sim­i­lar charges. Author­i­ties say he ar­ranged for a smug­gler to take his brother across the bor­der, but he was found and ar­rested at a house two days af­ter Singh’s killing.

The sus­pect’s girl­friend, Ana Leydi Cer­vantes Sanchez, 31, was sen­tenced last year to a year and a day in prison af­ter plead­ing guilty to con­spir­ing to help her boyfriend’s at­tempted es­cape.

An­other brother, Adrian Vir­gen Men­doza, 26, pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty and was sen­tenced to a year and nine months in prison.

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