Plea deal could be near in Road Dog racketeering case

The one-time law man who prosecutors say ran a criminal enterprise out of a Denair motorcycle shop could be close to pleading guilty, according to court documents.

Attorneys for Robert C. Holloway filed a document today telling the court that Holloway will plead guilty if six other defendants in the case do, too.

"Mr. Holloway has entered into a plea agreement with the government, which is contingent upon the remaining defendants in his case also entering pleas of guilty," defense attorneys wrote.

Reaching those agreements could take months, say Holloway’s attorneys. They’re asking the court to release Holloway from a halfway house and put him under electronic surveillance at his home.

U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger will probably consider that request at hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. March 23.

Holloway’s attorneys could not be reached immediately for comment. U.S. Attorney Mark E. Cullers, lead prosecutor on the case, said he wouldn’t comment.

Holloway was arrested with 11 other men in July 2008.

He’s charged with racketeering, trafficking in stolen vehicle parts, operating a chop shop out of Road Dog Cycle and using threats of violence to collect debts. His case is scheduled to go to trial in July. Three defendants have pleaded guilty.

Investigators taped thousands of calls on Holloway’s cell, business and home phones. When the FBI first tapped Holloway’s phones in September 2007, agents told Wanger they expected to catch Holloway involved in money laundering, firearms violations, and manufacturing, importing and selling meth and marijuana. Holloway isn't charged with any of those crimes.

Holloway, 62, was in custody at the Fresno County jail until June 2009, when he was released to a halfway house. Since then Holloway has paid $2,550 a month to live at the halfway house, his attorneys say in court filings.

He’s been a model resident, attorneys say, devoting himself to beautifying flower beds and regular exercise.

Holloway was once a Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy. In 2001 he was acquitted of murder charges. Holloway stood trial after he confronted a career criminal who tried to rob his Denair shop, accidentally killing the man during a scuffle in 1997.

Holloway’s supporters say law enforcement has been after Holloway since then, pursuing him at any cost.

The FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated Holloway for several years. That probe culminated in a July 2008 indictment charging Holloway and co-defendants with racketeering and conspiracy.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star