KERN COUNTY (CBS13) —  The three people accused of harboring alleged cop killer Gustavo Perez Arriaga will face federal prosecution, according to the Kern County District Attorney.

CBS affiliate KBAK reported the DA  that the state has dropped their charges against the three people so that federal prosecutors can move forward with their case against the defendants.

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Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, 59, Erasmo Villegas, 36, and Maria Louisa Moreno, 57, were previously arraigned in Kern County court on state charges of being accessories to murder.

The trio is accused of helping Arriaga escape authorities after allegedly killing Newman Police officer Ronil Singh during a traffic stop on Dec. 26.

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The defendants will be transferred to federal custody and face a more serious punishment under federal law, according to the DA.

The other four suspects, Erik Razo Quiroz, Adrian Virgen, Ana Leydy Cervantes, and Conrado Virgen Mendoza, were arraigned in Stanislaus County on a single felony charge for helping Arriaga avoid arrest.

All four entered “not guilty” pleas.

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