Court date nears for retired Stanislaus sheriff's captain

DeLeon accused of lying to federal investigators

March 9, 2009 

deleon

Raul DeLeon

A retired Stanislaus County sheriff's captain accused of lying to federal investigators will return to a Fresno courtroom next week to try to get the charges against him dismissed.

Raul DeLeon, 52, of Modesto is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

DeLeon faces up to 25 years in prison and $250,000 in fees if he is convicted of lying to investigators about his relationship with retired sheriff's deputy Robert C. Holloway III, sharing sensitive information with Holloway and concealing Holloway's alleged illegal activities from law enforcement.

Holloway, 61, of Turlock was arrested with about a dozen other men, including DeLeon, in 2008 after a lengthy federal investigation involving wiretaps, surveillance and confidential informants.

Authorities say Holloway and his son, Brent Holloway, 37, of Modesto, ran a chop shop out of the Denair motorcycle business they owned and that Robert Holloway encouraged threats and violence against customers who didn't pay bills.

According to court documents, investigators began to look into Robert Holloway in 2006.

"The investigation centered around Mr. Holloway's association with outlaw motorcycle gangs, firearms offenses and trafficking in stolen motorcycles, drug trafficking and other crimes," according to a document that prosecutors filed in January.

The same year, Holloway's wife, Kathy, was fired from the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department for, according to the court filing, accessing departmental databases for Danny Dugranrut, a Hells Angels member who worked at Road Dog Cycle.

The same document quotes Robert Holloway discussing his wife's termination, expressing anger that she was let go after "26 years of exemplary employment" and that she had simply looked up information about trouble that Dugranrut's son was in at school.

Because of the allegations against Kathy Holloway, prosecutors wrote, members of the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force became concerned that their investigation was being compromised.

"As the investigation progressed, it became apparent that there were 'leaks' in the investigation, i.e., that information about law enforcement's strategies and activities was reaching Robert Holloway and his associates through unauthorized channels," the court document says.

Transcript details phone calls

On Sept. 7, 2007, authorities received permission from a federal judge to set up a wiretap to monitor certain telephones associated with Robert Holloway.

About a week later, on Sept. 19, investigators overheard several conversations about a "friendly" traffic stop DeLeon made on Robert Holloway near Keyes and Geer roads, during which, prosecutors wrote, DeLeon hugged Holloway and chatted with him before the men drove off.

Prosecutors include a transcript in their document describing a phone call they say Holloway made to his wife to tell her about the traffic stop.

Based on the "content and tone" of the conversation, and to find out if DeLeon was responsible for leaking information to Holloway, investigators served DeLeon with a state grand jury subpoena Oct. 15, 2007. The subpoena, to testify before the grand jury in December 2007, asked him to bring with him documents related to Kathy Holloway's employment.

The next day, prosecutors say Holloway called DeLeon about 3:50 p.m. about a search at Dugranrut's home in Keyes. According to a transcript in the court document, Holloway asked DeLeon to find out who was conducting the search. Holloway also said he would cooperate with investigators to help Dugranrut turn himself in, if authorities wanted that.

Holloway added that Dugranrut wanted to hide his motorcycle and Hells Angels vest so that authorities would not confiscate them, according to the transcript.

In the transcript, DeLeon mentioned the grand jury subpoena to Holloway and asked if he knew anything about it. Holloway said he did not.

DeLeon called Holloway about 30 minutes later to say that no local law enforcement agencies seemed to be involved in the search at Dugranrut's home. Holloway concluded that the search must be federal. They talked a bit more about the subpoena, then hung up. The call lasted less than two minutes.

No other transcripts are included, but a court document detailing government exhibits indicates DeLeon called Brent Holloway at 4:22 p.m. At 4:29 p.m., Robert Holloway called Dugranrut and at 4:34 p.m., he called DeLeon. At 4:49 p.m., Holloway called his son.

Friends or not?

DeLeon was a captain with the Sheriff's Department during the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force investigation into activities at Road Dog Cycle.

On Nov. 20, gang and fed-eral investigators interviewed DeLeon about his relationship with Holloway. According to the transcript in the indictment against him, DeLeon denied Holloway told him that Dugranrut wanted to hide his motorcycle and vest. He denied he told Holloway about the subpoena. He also denied he was friends with Holloway, though he said they had been friends when Holloway was a deputy for the Sheriff's Department.

Investigators argue DeLeon also gave a "false account" of the Sept. 19 traffic stop. De-Leon told them, according to the transcript, that he spotted Holloway's truck and pulled him over "to say hi." He looked in Holloway's truck and found it "clean as usual."

Holloway's account of the stop does not appear to include any legitimate law enforcement function.

Prosecutors claim DeLeon and Holloway were friends and that they took a cruise in Mexico together in 2005. They note, however, that other law enforcement officers also were on the cruise. Prosecutors say DeLeon called Holloway four times from July through September 2006.

Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at eraguso@modbee.com or 578-2235.

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