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Third Road Dog defendant enters guilty plea; agrees to testify against others

POSTED July 17, 2009 10:38 p.m.
A third defendant has pled guilty in the federal racketeering case involving Denair’s Road Dog Cycle shop and owner Robert Holloway.
Reynaldo W. Sotelo, 52, of Gilroy pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy to traffic in motor vehicle parts, as part of an overall racketeering case, according to the court records. As part of his plea agreement, Sotelo has agreed to cooperate and testify for the government in any future trials related to the racketeering case.
Assistant United States Attorneys Mark Cullers and Laurel J. Montoya, who are prosecuting the case, said Sotelo admitted that between Sept. 21, 2007, and Nov. 2, 2007, he conspired with Holloway, Fredrick Noreberg, and others to traffic in motor vehicle parts by supplying false manufacturer statements of origin to Holloway for a motorcycle that was to be shipped from Modesto to Sweden. A manufacturer’s statement of origin is the document used to prove the motorcycle parts were purchased legally.
Sotelo is the former chief executive officer of Indian Motorcycles. His sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 28. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court.
Sotelo is one of 12 men who were named in a federal grand jury indictment alleging that Holloway operated a criminal enterprise out of the Road Dog Cycle shop, including the use of violence and extortion to collect debts, running a chop shop, and trafficking in stolen motorcycle parts. Holloway, a retired Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputy, was the prime target of the investigation and has been held in custody since his arrest in July 2008. He was recently granted permission to move into a Fresno halfway house.
Key to the prosecution’s case are thousands of recorded conversations that they say show evidence of the criminal enterprise. A hearing on whether or not the recordings will be allowed into evidence is scheduled for July 24 in the U.S. District Court in Fresno.
Two other defendants charged in the indictment have entered guilty pleas, but Sotelo is the first to agree to testify in the other trials.
In June Michael Orozco, 51, of Manteca pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to collect extensions of credit by extortionate means. As part of his plea Orozco admitted to conspiring with Holloway to threaten violence to a man that owed the two men money, according to Cullers and Montoya. The prosecutors said Orozco and Holloway loaned $5,000 to Josh Bell, with the implicit threat that if Bell did not repay the loan on time, some type of harm would befall him or his property would be taken. Orozco took Bell’s motorcycle on Dec. 10, 2007, because the debt had not been repaid, according to the prosecution.
Orozco also admitted to speaking with Holloway a week later about law enforcement’s involvement in the investigation of the stolen bike.
At the time of his arrest, Orozco was the chapter president of the Manteca chapter of the Alky Haulers outlaw motorcycle club, according to the prosecution.
Orozco is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on Aug. 24. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. Orozco has been held at the Fresno County Jail since his arrest in July 2008.
In July, a second defendant, Ray Heffington, 40, of Chowchilla entered a guilty plea to trafficking in stolen motorcycle parts. At the time of his arrest last year, Heffington was the president of the Merced chapter of the Hell’s Angels.
According to the prosecution, Heffington admitted to buying and receiving stolen motorcycle parts with altered vehicle identification numbers and delivering those parts to the Road Dog Cycle shop.
Heffington’s attorney said it was a one time offense and that Heffington was never part of a conspiracy to operate and maintain a criminal enterprise.
Heffington will not be testifying against any of the other defendants.
Heffington will return to court on Sept. 14 for sentencing. He is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Retired Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Capt. Raul DeLeon was named in the indictment and charged with four counts of making false statements to investigators and one count of conspiring to obstruct justice. A federal grand jury found DeLeon not guilty on all charges in May.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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