FRESNO — A third defendant in the federal racketeering case against Road Dog Cycle shop pleaded guilty Thursday, prosecutors said.
Reynaldo Sotelo, 52, said he conspired with Road Dog owner Bob Holloway and others to traffic in motor vehicle parts. Sotelo, of Gilroy, was once chief executive officer of Indian Motorcycle.
Attorneys are gearing up for a major hearing in the case next week. U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger is scheduled to hear arguments July 24 on whether wiretap evidence should be thrown out. Thousands of recorded calls are at the heart of the government's case against Road Dog.
Sotelo was arrested along with about a dozen other men in July 2008, after federal investigators completed a multiyear probe into Road Dog Cycle in Denair.
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Authorities say Holloway presided over a criminal enterprise at Road Dog for more than a decade. Investigators say Holloway ran a chop shop and used threats of violence to collect debts.
A 'minor player'
Defense attorney Albie Jachimowicz called Sotelo a "minor player" in the case. Sotelo knew Holloway through business dealings, but the two had no personal relationship, Jachimowicz said.
Sotelo agreed to testify for the government as part of his plea agreement.
"Whether he has information that's important to the prosecution is up to them," Jachimowicz said. "Mr. Sotelo's role in this case is so minimal."
Investigators recorded phone calls during which Sotelo told Holloway he would provide paperwork called a "manufacturer statement of origin" for a bike that Holloway was selling at Road Dog. The paperwork proves that bike parts are legally purchased and not stolen. After Holloway sold the bike to a man who wanted to ship it to Sweden, authorities discovered that not all of the bike's parts were legally registered.
Sotelo faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Jachimowicz said he expects Sotelo to serve six months or less of home detention.
Sotelo's sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 28.
In June, two other Road Dog defendants entered guilty pleas. Ray M. Heffington, former president of the Merced chapter of the Hells Angels, admitted to trafficking in stolen motorcycle parts.
Michael Orozco, a leader in the Manteca chapter of the Alky Haulers motorcycle club, entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to collect extensions of credit by extortion.
Holloway was released from Fresno County Jail to a halfway house last month. His trial date has not been scheduled.
Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2378.