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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Monday, March 10, 2014

San Joaquin County Law Enforcement Dog Trainer Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison For Perjury And Making False Statements To Law Enforcement

FRESNO, Calif. — Stephen J. Johnson, 66, of Linden, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill to 15 months in prison for committing perjury before a federal grand jury and making false statements to the FBI United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Johnson, a law enforcement dog trainer who worked in the Central Valley, was charged with conspiring to obstruct an FBI investigation into Bob Holloway, former owner of Road Dog Cycle in Denair, along with Holloway, retired Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff Dave Swanson, and Gary Ermoian, a private investigator from Stanislaus County. Johnson was also charged with two counts of making false statements to the FBI and six counts of perjury before a federal grand jury.

At trial, the wiretap evidence revealed that in September 2007, Ermoian, acting on confidential law enforcement information received from Swanson, alerted Holloway that search warrants might be executed at Holloway's residence and business. Thereafter, Ermoian and Holloway discussed how to hide evidence from law enforcement, and, along with Johnson, discussed possible law enforcement surveillance activity at Road Dog Cycle. However, when interviewed by the FBI in 2008, Johnson denied assisting Holloway in hiding evidence and informing Holloway about law enforcement surveillance. Johnson then testified under oath before a federal grand jury later in 2008 and further denied assisting Holloway.

Ermoian and Johnson were convicted at trial on all charges, but Swanson was acquitted. Holloway had pleaded guilty to racketeering charges prior to trial. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the obstruction of justice count against Ermoian and Johnson. Johnson therefore had to be re-sentenced on the perjury and false statement counts of which he was convicted.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, a task force composed of state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Modesto Police Department, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Mark E. Cullers and Laurel J. Montoya prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:08-cr-224 LJO
Updated April 8, 2015