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Monday, 8 September 2008

Bob Holloway, 60, and his son Brent Holloway, 35, were arrested July 15. Six others also are charged. They are accused of running a racketeering ring

Bob Holloway, 60, and his son Brent Holloway, 35, were arrested July 15. Six others also are charged. They are accused of running a racketeering and extortion ring that trafficked in stolen motor vehicle parts and collecting debts by force or with the threat of force.According to authorities, four of the suspects are associated with motorcycle gangs, another is a former chief executive officer of Indian Motorcycles and the last is a former Merced County sheriff's deputy who allegedly tapped into law enforcement databases on Holloway's behalf.The two-year investigation also snared three others with law enforcement connections: Stanislaus County Sheriff's Capt. Raul DeLeon, retired sheriff's deputy David Swanson and former corrections officer Steven J. Johnson. They are charged with lying to federal authorities. DeLeon was placed on administrative leave in December.An indictment handed down by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Fresno said Holloway was tipped off to the investigation by someone with law enforcement connections.
It also named five people who got motorcycles on credit from Holloway and were threatened with force if they failed to repay, though prosecutors do not allege that any were assaulted.And it said Holloway and his associates exported a motorcycle with a fictitious vehicle identification number to a gang leader in Sweden.
In Denair, nearby business owners said the case has prompted lots of talk, mostly from people who wonder what was really going on behind closed doors or suspect that Holloway may be getting railroaded.Tanya St. John, who lives a few blocks from the motorcycle shop, said she has friends and relatives who got good deals on motorcycles from Holloway. She thinks she would have heard something or seen something unusual if Road Dog Cycle was a dirty operation for 10 years, as prosecutors allege."You would know immediately," she said after she signed the petition. "This is a very small town. Everybody knows everything."
Robert Angel of Turlock said he signed the petition because his friend deserves a chance to prove his innocence. Robert Holloway faces decades in prison and fines of up to $2.5 million if convicted of nine felonies that range from racketeering to extortion to running a chop shop."How can he defend his case when he's in prison?" he said.Holloway's son Brent has been released from custody as he awaits trial.
Petrie, who posted fliers about the petition drive on the windows of the motorcycle shop, said she could not talk about the case or a wiretapped phone call that was intercepted nearly a year ago in which she told a friend about a fellow employee beating his son in the bay of the shop.According to prosecutors, Petrie wasn't too concerned about the incident because such things happened when the bosses needed to teach a customer a lesson -- until she learned that it was her co-worker's teenager in the cross hairs."I thought it was, you know, somebody that they were thumping," Petrie said during the Sept. 21, 2007, phone call. "I really didn't think that much of it."


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