Road Dog wiretap evidence 'hard to refute;' Robert Holloway, Orozco stay in jail

Members of the FBI task force stand outside Road Dog Cycle Friday, February 1, 2008. (Bart Ah You / Modesto Bee)
Members of the FBI task force stand outside Road Dog Cycle Friday, February 1, 2008. (Bart Ah You / Modesto Bee)

FRESNO — Robert C. Holloway III and Michael J. Orozco will remain in custody pending further hearings related to Road Dog Cycle in Denair, a judge in U.S. District Court ruled Tuesday.

Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin said the men's release would pose a danger to society based on wiretap evidence submitted by prosecutors and the seriousness of the extortion charges against them.

Holloway is co-owner of Road Dog. Orozco, a Manteca resident, is chapter vice-president of the Alky Haulers motorcycle club.

Austin said it appeared Holloway had adopted the methods of members of the "criminal element" with whom he did business at Road Dog. Austin cited recordings in which Holloway scoffed at collecting debts through the court system and said he didn't call authorities to handle certain legal problems.

Holloway's defense attorney made a strong argument for allowing his client to be put under house arrest, Austin said, but the wiretap evidence ultimately was "hard to refute."

Authorities say Holloway and his son, Brent F. Holloway, ran a racketeering enterprise at Road Dog, which they co-own. A grand jury indicted the Holloways and 11 others in mid-July on charges relating to suspected illegal operations at the motorcycle shop going back to 1997.

Brent Holloway, who lives in Modesto, will return to court Thursday to discuss the possibility of his release.

Robert Holloway, of Turlock, believed he was being targeted unfairly by authorities, according to a recorded call his defense attorney played Tuesday.

Speaking with a man identified as former Stanislaus County Undersheriff Myron Larson, Holloway expressed annoyance with the "whole system," after sheriff's Capt. Raul DeLeon was subpoenaed and asked to provide work records related to Holloway's wife, Kathy, who for a time was DeLeon's secretary.

"Well, they just keep picking at a scab, you know?" the man identified as Larson replied.

Holloway said he could understand his family being scrutinized if he were dealing stolen bikes or drugs, but he denied being involved with those activities.

"What the f--- do they think that we're doing?" Holloway asked Larson in the conversation, which allegedly took place Oct. 10.

"You're an easy name to drop to certain people," Larson said, adding that "bad guys" who got into trouble would give up alleged dirt on Holloway to get themselves out of trouble.

Holloway is a retired Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy whose 16-year career was cut short in 1985 when a drunken driver slammed head-on into his patrol car. He gained notoriety in July 1997 after he confronted a career criminal who tried to rob his shop and accidentally killed the man during the scuffle. A jury acquitted Holloway of murder charges in 2001.

Holloway sounded frustrated that none of his charitable work for children nor efforts in his community seemed to change his reputation as far as certain authorities were concerned.

"They seem to think we're some type of criminal enterprise," he said. But he argued that he had nothing to gain from illegal works.

"There's so much money to be made legally, why the f--- would I want to do anything illegally?" Holloway said. "The more I try to be legit, the more I get in trouble."

Authorities recorded "thousands of phone calls" from September through December, according to witness Nate Elias, a special agent with the FBI.

Holloway complained to the man identified as Larson that the California Waste Management Board fined him $2,750 for taking too many motorcycle tires to a licensed facility for disposal. Authorities told him, he said, that he needed a special license to transport more than nine tires. He felt the fine was a ruse to hassle him.

Prosecutor Laurel J. Montoya told the court she was offended Holloway continued to claim that the Road Dog investigation was politically motivated.

"This has been Mr. Holloway's mantra and battle cry for many years," she said. "It's an example of his 'poor, poor pitiful me,' everyone's-picking-on-him routine."

Also Tuesday, defense witness David Michael Baker disputed a recording played Monday in which a Road Dog employee discussed an alleged beating in the shop's shipping bay. Baker has been a mechanic at Road Dog for six years, he said.

In the recording played Monday, a woman said the service doors had been pulled down during a beating. She said the doors sometimes would be pulled down when customers needed to be taught "a lesson" when they failed to pay bills.

Baker acknowledged that he wasn't at work during the alleged beating.

"I have never seen anything (like that) happen," he said. "We have never attacked a customer. We have never collected a dollar from anybody. I'm not sure why she told that story."

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

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