Arrests Made in “Operation Broken Bonds,” an Investigation into Violent Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Gun Trafficking in the Central Valley Committed by Gang Members and Associates
FRESNO, Calif. — Erik Quiroz Razo (Quiroz), 28, an illegal alien from Michoacán, Mexico residing in Merced, was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for conspiring with others to assist Paulo Virgen Mendoza’s flight from California to Mexico after he allegedly committed a felony: the murder of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh during a traffic stop, 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,” said U.S. Attorney 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.”
Last September, a jury found Quiroz guilty, along with Virgen Mendoza’s brother, Conrado Virgen Mendoza, 34, an illegal alien from Colima, Mexico, residing in Chowchilla. The evidence at trial established that Quiroz helped Paulo Virgen Mendoza conceal the truck that he was driving at the time of Corporal Singh’s murder, disposed of the firearm used to kill the officer, and lied to Stanislaus County Sheriff officers about Paulo’s whereabouts.
A court hearing for Conrado Virgen Mendoza has been scheduled for Jan. 21 where a sentencing date will be set for his involvement in the conspiracy to help his brother flee. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to aid in his brother’s flight from authorities. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations; Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force; Southern Tri-County HIDTA; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; California Highway Patrol; California Department of Justice, the Sheriffs’ Offices for Kern, Merced, and Santa Cruz Counties; and the Police Departments for Merced, Turlock, Modesto, and Santa Cruz. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen A. Escobar, Laura D. Withers, and Michael G. Tierney are prosecuting the case.