Road Dog conspiracy case goes to the jury

April 29, 2009 

EVENING UPDATE The prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments today in the trial of former Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy Raul DeLeon, who's accused of conspiracy and making false statements in the Road Dog motorcycle shop case.

The defense concluded its statement about 5:30 p.m. After the judge called a brief recess, the government began making its closing argument at about 5:45 p.m.

Jurors will begin deliberating on Friday.

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FRESNO — Jurors heard retired Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy Bob Holloway telling off-color jokes and cursing federal investigators during a wiretapped phone call played in court Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors hope jurors also heard evidence of a criminal conspiracy.

The taped call, between Holloway and retired sheriff's captain Raul DeLeon, is at the heart of the government's case against DeLeon. He's charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and four counts of making false statements in connection with the Road Dog racketeering case against Holloway.

If convicted, DeLeon could go to prison for up to 25 years and pay up to $250,000 in fines.

On Wednesday, the prosecution wrapped up its case. After the defense's case and closing statements, jurors are expected to start deliberations this afternoon.

Prosecutors played several recordings Wednesday; the highlight was the booming voice of Holloway filling the courtroom. Authorities say Holloway — now in jail awaiting trial — ran a criminal enterprise at the Road Dog cycle shop in Denair, trafficking in stolen motorcycle parts and using violence to collect debts.

In a recording played Wednesday, Holloway complains to DeLeon that he runs a legitimate business, but federal investigators have been "trying to get me for years and years." Holloway retired from the sheriff's department in 1985.

Jurors must decide whether DeLeon, who retired from the sheriff's department in 2008, conspired with Holloway during that phone call to impede the FBI investigation into Holloway and his business.

The October 2007 call took place as authorities were serving a search warrant at the home of one of Holloway's employees, a Hells Angel named Daniel Dugranrut.

Holloway phoned DeLeon at his sheriff's department office to find out which agency was conducting the search.

'OK'

In the recording jurors heard Wednesday, Holloway is heard flirting with a receptionist who answers the phone. Next, DeLeon comes on the line. Holloway does most of the talking — cursing freely and joking, but also complaining bitterly about harassment from law enforcement. Holloway tells DeLeon, "They're still trying to put me in prison."

On the tape, DeLeon's tone is friendly but businesslike. He tells Holloway he doesn't know anything about the search, but he'll find out.

At the end of the conversation, Holloway tells DeLeon he'll get Dugranrut to turn himself in to authorities — but first Dugranrut wants to hide his Hells Angels patch and a bike with a stolen frame. DeLeon replies, "OK."

Prosecutors say that's the moment when DeLeon obstructed justice. An experienced officer who oversaw the gang unit, prosecutors say DeLeon should have alerted investigators about a Hells Angel trying to conceal evidence.

Instead, say prosecutors, he kept the information to himself and then lied about it later.

Prosecutors say DeLeon was protecting Holloway because the two were friends. As evidence, prosecutors have said the two vacationed together in Mexico.

Defense witness Ivonne Deckard testified Wednesday that Holloway and DeLeon and their families were part of a larger group that went on a cruise together, but that Holloway was surprised when he saw DeLeon on board.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at lalbrecht@modbee.com or 578-2378.

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