FRESNO -- Two of the three Road Dog Cycle defendants who remain in custody will be home for Christmas, if defense attorneys have their way.
They appeared in a federal courtroom in Fresno on Monday morning, with their attorneys and many co-defendants who were released earlier this year, to ask for a hearing to present evidence about why they should be freed.
But, with Christmas fast approaching, prosecutors told the court they didn't know if their witnesses would be available in time. U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger said attorneys should try to schedule the hearing for Dec. 23.
"As with any pretrial detainees, they certainly would like to be with their families at Christmas," said Jai Gohel of San Francisco, who represents Ray M. Heffington.
Heffington, 40, of Chowchilla, was identified by federal prosecutors as the Merced chapter president of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. He has been in custody since July, when he was indicted with about a dozen others on charges relating to suspected illegal operations going back to 1997 at a Denair motorcycle shop.
Ex-deputy still in custody
Prosecutors say Robert C. Holloway III, a retired sheriff's deputy, and his son, Brent F. Holloway, 35, of Modesto, ran a racketeering enterprise at the shop. Prosecutors say Robert Holloway encouraged threats and violence against customers who didn't pay bills, operated a chop shop and extended credit to customers illegally.
Holloway, 61, of Turlock remains in custody; his son was released on bond in August. The business has been closed since their arrest.
Another defendant still in custody who hopes to be released is a Manteca man prosecutors have identified as Alky Haulers motorcycle club chapter vice president Michael J. Orozco, 51. Orozco faces charges of making extortionate extensions of credit; collecting credit by extortionate means; and criminal forfeiture.
Pretrial Services, an agency that makes recommendations regarding whether defendants should be released, said last summer that Orozco should be released, said his attorney, Mac McGinnis of Fresno.
"But somebody scared the judge into saying, 'I'm not going for it,' " McGinnis said Monday. "You're supposed to go on the evidence. I think they went on something else."
McGinnis said his client is only "peripherally involved" in the case. He said Orozco verbally vouched for a "snitch" who bought a motorcycle from Robert Holloway.
Many of the men were arraigned Monday on a revised indictment, filed in late November, that added several defendants and charges to the case. All who entered pleas -- including both Holloways, Orozco and Heffington; Reynaldo W. Sotelo, 52, of Gilroy; Alfredo F. Rincon, 37, of Manteca; Stephen J. Johnson, 60, of Linden; and David A. Swanson, 52, Modesto -- said they were not guilty.
Swanson was charged in July with making false statements to investigators; in November, prosecutors added a count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Swanson is a former deputy who was a court bailiff with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department during the investigation.
Modesto attorney Robert L. Forkner, who represents Swanson, said he expects his client to be acquitted of all charges.
"Once again, the government is piling on charges for somebody who won't cooperate or enter a plea to a lesser offense," Forkner said. "It's a vindictive prosecution."
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.