FRESNO -- Another defendant connected to the federal investigation into a Denair motorcycle shop pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Anthony D. Fantacone, 65, of Boiling Springs, S.C., was charged with carjacking and aiding and abetting. He was a police officer in New York state, according to an attorney associated with the case.
A grand jury indicted Fantacone in November, when it handed up new charges in connection with more than a dozen people involved with Road Dog Cycle's owner, Robert C. Holloway III, 61.
In July, authorities indicted 13 men in connection with suspected illegal operations dating to 1997 at the shop. They said Holloway encouraged threats and violence against customers who didn't pay bills, operated a chop shop and extended credit to customers illegally.
Fantacone's attorney, Robert L. Forkner of Modesto, said Monday that his client will be proved innocent.
In late December, two of the three defendants who remain in custody asked a federal judge to release them. Holloway, Ray M. Heffington, 40, of Chowchilla and Michael J. Orozco, 51, of Manteca have been in jail in Fresno since July.
U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger ruled in December that Orozco could be released if the defense put up property owned by Orozco's parents as collateral.
Court documents indicate that he is still in jail.
In late January, Wanger ruled that Heffington must stay in custody.
Prosecutors said Heffington was the Merced chapter president of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Charges against him include operating a chop shop and trafficking in vehicles or parts.
Wanger said he took into account Heffington's more than 20-year history of criminal activity "and the likelihood that his beliefs and active membership in a notorious outlaw motorcycle gang motivate a lawless lifestyle."
He continued, "There is an unacceptably high risk the defendant will not comply" with release terms intended to protect the community.
The case is scheduled to return to court May 26, Forkner said.
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.