Federal authorities arrested 13 men in July in connection with suspected illegal operations dating back to 1997 at Road Dog Cycle in Denair. Supporters say the charges are unfounded and that the men have been unfairly targeted. Investigators arrested two more men in November, and made substantial changes to the indictment. Here's a roundup of the charges:
Road Dog Cycle defendants charged with operating a chop shop; trafficking in motor vehicles or their parts; and criminal forfeiture: Robert C. Holloway III, 61, of Turlock also faces charges related to racketeering; witness tampering; solicitation to commit a crime of violence; carjacking and aiding and abetting; making extortionate extensions of credit; collecting credit by extortionate means; and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He has been ordered held in custody.His son, Brent F. Holloway, 36, of Modesto also faces charges related to racketeering and collecting credit by extortionate means. He was released from custody on bond in August.Former East Bay Dragons motorcycle club member Alfredo F. Rincon, 37, of Manteca also faces charges related to collecting credit by extortionate means. He was released on bond in July.Ray M. Heffington, 40, of Chowchilla, the former Merced chapter president of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, has been ordered to remain in custody pending further hearings.
Other Road Dog defendants: Retired California Highway Patrol officer and former part-time Merced County sheriff's deputy Joseph S. Tyler, 65, of Merced faces charges related to operating a chop shop; conspiracy to obstruct justice; and criminal forfeiture. Tyler was a CHP officer for 30 years. He worked for the Sheriff's Department in Merced for 18 months and in fall 2007. Prosecutors say that, after it became clear investigators wanted to search Road Dog Cycle, Tyler checked in law enforcement databases on stolen motorcycle parts Robert Holloway had to help get rid of the parts or keep them away from law enforcement. He was released in July on his own recognizance.Former Alky Haulers motorcycle club chapter vice president Michael J. Orozco, 51, of Manteca faces charges of making extortionate extensions of credit; collecting credit by extortionate means; and criminal forfeiture. In December 2008, a federal judge ordered that he should be released from custody on strict supervision if the defense put up property owned by Orozco's parents as collateral. He appeared to be still in custody as of February 2009.Reynaldo W. Sotelo, 52, of Gilroy, former chief executive officer of Indian Motorcycles, and Frederick A. Noreberg, 37, of Sweden, the chapter president of the Red Devils motorcycle club in that country, face charges of conspiracy in connection with planning to send a motorcycle with false identification to Sweden; and criminal forfeiture. Noreberg is wanted by law enforcement. People familiar with his case say he is in custody in a Swedish prison. Sotelo was released on bond.Anthony D. Fantacone, 65, of Boiling Springs, S.C., faces charges related to carjacking and aiding and abetting and criminal forfeiture. Fantacone used to be a police officer in New York state, according to an attorney associated with the case. As of Dec. 15, he was in custody on the east coast, but authorities said they were trying to arrange his release due to a heart condition. Attorneys said he will come to California for future hearings.
False statements:Raul DeLeon, 52, of Modesto is a retired Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy. In January 2009, a federal grand jury returned a new indictment against him, adding a fourth charge of making a false statement as well as a conspiracy charge, which bumps the penalties he could face up to $250,000 in fines and 25 years in prison.David A. Swanson, 52, of Modesto is a former deputy who was a court bailiff with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department during the investigation. Stephen J. Johnson, 60, of Linden also is accused of lying to a federal grand jury in June. Johnson is a retired corrections officer for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; he trains narcotics and bomb-detection dogs for law enforcement agencies and military clients in California and Oregon. He also "performed dog search duties" for Robert Holloway, according to prosecutors.
Swanson and Johnson also were charged in November 2008 with conspiracy to obstruct justice after, prosecutors say, they called Gary Ermoian (below) to inform him of searches planned for Robert Holloway and Road Dog Cycle. Investigators say they knew Ermoian would pass this information on to Holloway. Swanson and Johnson have been charged with criminal forfeiture. All three were released on their own recognizance.
Other defendants:Gary L. Ermoian, 50, a private investigator for a defense attorney who represented Robert Holloway in a murder trial, was charged in November 2008 with conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the calls to Robert Holloway about plans for a search at his property. Ermoian also has been charged with criminal forfeiture. He likely next will appear in court Dec. 15. He was released on his own recognizance after turning himself in with his lawyer in December 2008.Daniel David Martell, 35, and John Roger Bird, 61, both of Modesto have been charged with being felons in possession of firearms. According to court records, a December 2007 search revealed that Martell had a rifle and handgun, which was not allowed because of his felony convictions for vehicle theft and evading a police officer. Bird was found with three rifles during a search February 2008, records show. Authorities claim he is not allowed to have the weapons because of a felony conviction in 1988 for manufacturing a controlled substance. Martell was released in November, but Bird remains in custody. Both men are scheduled for a jury trial Jan. 21.
Unless otherwise noted, this information has been drawn from legal documents related to the prosecutor's case against Robert Holloway and his alleged associates.