NewsCovering Kern County


Federal documents detail actions of those charged with accessory in murder of Newman police officer

Posted at 4:13 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 00:32:58-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Federal court documents obtained by 23ABC detail the actions taken by the suspects who are charged with accessory in the murder of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh.

According to documents, as law enforcement engaged in a manhunt for the accused killer, Pablo Virgen Mendoza - also known as Gustavo Arriaga, they also interviewed witnesses and identified family members and others who may have been close to Mendoza in an effort to find him.

Documents show law enforcement learned of several individuals, mostly family members had assisted in Mendoza's efforts to escape law enforcement.

According to court documents, the following actions were taken by the suspects named below.

  • Ana Leydi Cervantes Sanches assisted Mendoza in his efforts to conceal his locations by providing him several sets of clothing as well as failing to notify law enforcement of his whereabouts after discovering that he was wanted by authorities.
  • Conrado Virgen Mendoza transported Mendoza in his personal vehicle to several locations in consecutive attempts to establish location of safe harbor for Mendoza, including the location where Mendoza discarded the weapon he used to murder Corporal Singh.
  • Erik Quiroz assisted Mendoza in using construction materials to hide the vehicle Mendoza used during the murder and his escape. Quiroz was also present with Conrado and Mendoza while attempting to find locations to conceal and harbor Mendoza including the location of the murder weapon. Quiroz transported Mendoza from his home in Merced to a dairy in El Nido, California.
  • Adrian Virgen Mendoza was made aware of the murder case involving Mendoza and nevertheless contacted Mendoza and subsequently picked Mendoza up from El Nido, California and transported Mendoza to several residences meant to conceal and harbor Mendoza's location in Buttonwillow and Bakersfield, respectively. Adrian also made contact with an alien and human trafficker and submitted a wire transfer of $400 as payment for the purpose of concealing Mendoza and providing transport from Bakersfield to Mexico.
  • Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda concealed and harbored Mendoza in his home in Bakersfield. Madrigal also facilitated the purchase of a new cell phone for Mendoza by driving Adrian to a local Metro PCS store.
  • Maria Luisa Morena concealed and harbored Mendoza in her home in Bakersfield.
  • Erasmo Villegas Suarez did provide Mendoza with clothing from his home as well as traveled to a local Western Union to accept a wire transfer of $500 from an unknown source to give to Mendoza to assist in his transport to Mexico. Suarez admitted to being aware of the murder case involving Mendoza and subsequent pursuit by law enforcement prior to taking action to assist in concealment and transport efforts for Mendoza.

Kern County Deputy District Attorney is charging 59-year-old Bernabe Castenada, 36-year-old Erasmo Villegas and 57-year-old Maria Moreno with accessory to murder of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh. Wednesday they each entered a "Not Guilty" plea.

If convicted, they could face three years in state prison. A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday, January 15th.

Mendoza's brother, 34-year-old Conrado Virgen Mendoza from Chowchilla, girlfriend, 30-year-old Ana Leyde Cervantes of Newman, another brother, 25-year-old Adrian Virgen, and a co-worker, 32-year-old Erik Razo Quiroz, appeared in court Monday in Stanaslaus County. They each entered a "Not Guilty" plea.

In total, all seven were arrested for aiding Mendoza in evading authorities after the murder of Singh in the early hours of December 26.

There is no word yet when the suspects will face the additional federal charges outlined in the court documents.