Archive for August 5th, 2008

Ray Sotelo was the first recipient of the JC “Pappy” Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award and retired as the CEO of Indian Motorcycle in 2002.  The Gilroy Dispatch reported he was arrested by state and federal agents on suspicion of racketeering and conspiracy of trafficking stolen parts, loan-sharking, and doing business with outlaw motorcycle clubs.  He is accused of helping a California chop shop send a stolen Harley to Sweden.  Additionally, the owner of Road Dog Cycle in Denair, CA., a retired Stanislaus County sheriff Robert Holloway and his son Brent were also charged in the indictment along with 9 others.  You can read more in the Department of Justice press release.   Others indicted include:

  1. Alfredo Rincon – East Bay Dragons
  2. Ray Heffington – Hells Angels (Merced Chapter President)
  3. Joseph Tyler – Retired CHP officer
  4. Michael Orozco – Alky Haulers (Chapter VP)
  5. Fredrick Noreberg – Red Devils (Sweden Chapter President), official supporter club to HAMC

Ray Sotelo

Ray Sotelo may be a bonehead fencing stolen iron to Sweden, but he began working in the motorcycle industry in 1979 when he opened a retail outlet, South County Motorcycles, in Gilroy, CA. and knows motorcycles.  He built custom motorcycles for celebrity sports figures including Karl Malone, Ralph Tamm, Dusty Baker, Erik Wright and even a recreation of the Captain America bike from the move Easy Rider for Peter Fonda.  He then opened California Motorcycle Company (CMC) in 1995 – a full scale manufacturing operation – to meet the demand for his bikes.  CMC was purchased by Indian Motorcycle in 1999.  Things began a slow decline and is the making of a good conspiracy where Judges were being paid off, investors getting money under the table, parts kickbacks, gigantic executive salaries, the little guy getting nothing – again ….. it doesn’t get much better than this except in the movies.

I’ve never met Ray or have I rode an Indian, but I’ll keep an open mind until there’s more proof.  Being charged isn’t the same as being found guilty…but, it looks bad as the Fed’s are involved and it means he has some serious issues to take care.  It also looks (at least on the surface) that there are a number of ex-sworn officers who may have been involved in a criminal enterprise.

Photos courtesy Indian Motorcycle and The Gilroy Dispatch.

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