Four Years And Counting Meth Dealing Prof Yet To Stand Trial

The trial for Dr. Stephen Kinzey, the tenured professor of kinesiology at Cal State San Bernardino accused of running a methamphetamine distribution ring, will not go to trial at least until February, more than four-and-a-half years after his August 2011 indictment.
A total of eleven defendants were charged in the matter involving Kinzey: Kinzey, Holly Vandergrift Robinson, Jeremy Disney, Eric Cortez, Edward Freer, Chelsea Marie Johnson, Hans Preszler, Elaine Flores, Wendi Lee Witherell, Christopher Allen Rikerd, and Stephenie Danielle Padilla.
In relatively short order, seven of those charged with Kinzey pleaded guilty to elements of the criminal case brought against them. Witherell pleaded guilty September 2011 to reduced charges. Flores, Padilla, Johnson, and Cortez all pleaded guilty in October 2011 to reduced charges. Freer and Rikerd pleaded guilty to reduced charges in November 2011.
Preszler, who along with Kinzey, Robinson and Disney maintained his innocence for 22 months after the arrests, in June 2013 pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit a crime.
Kinzey, now 49, was charged with drug dealing, running a street gang and possessing illegal firearms. Robinson, his live-in girlfriend and a former Cal State San Bernardino student, is accused of helping him run a handful of meth dealing operations in what law enforcement officials saw as a small-time enterprise that was on the verge of expanding. According to investigators and prosecutors, quantities of methamphetamine, believed to be in the pound to kilogram range, would be provided to drug dealers from the home that Kinzey and Robinson shared in a quiet and relatively upscale neighborhood in Highland.
Kinzey has a PH.D in kinesiology from the University of Toledo, and previously earned his masters at Indiana State and his bachelor’s degree at Wayne State. He began teaching at the University of Mississippi in 1995 and transferred into the California State University system in 2001 and eventually became the chairman of the San Bernardino campus’s kinesiology department’s curriculum committee. Kinzey also had an interest, bordering on an obsession, with motorcycling and motorcycle clubs. A Harley-Davidson owner, Kinzey joined a local chapter of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club while he was a professor in Mississippi in 1997.
After coming to San Bernardino County, the birthplace of three of what are referred to as outlaw biker gangs – the Hells Angels, the Vagos and the Devils Diciples, Kinzey intensified his biker club associations. Kinzey started two local motorcycle clubs in Southern California while he was teaching at San Bernardino State. Curiously, his status with each of the clubs he founded eroded and it appears he was forced out of both.
In time, Kinzey moved on to form a new chapter of the Devils Diciples, a biker gang that originated in Fontana in 1967 but which now has its national headquarters in Detroit. Kinzey formed a San Bernardino Mountain chapter of the club and until his arrest was actively promoting the affiliation, selling Devil’s Diciples shirts, helmets and rider paraphernalia from a website.
There is a degree of mystery with regard to the case and whether investigators worked the case from the ground up or the top down, that is whether local investigators came across indications of drug dealing activity at the street level and traced that activity up the ladder, ultimately reaching Kinzey or whether an investigation at the national level that had as its overarching target the alleged network of drug manufacturers and distributors working in conjunction with organizations such as the Devil’s Diciples came across Kinzey as investigators, in this case those with the FBI, worked their way down the chain of command or geographically across the country to California.
Federal authorities and other law enforcement agencies have been striving, for some time, to make drug trafficking cases against the Devil’s Diciples. Federal Prosecutors in 2009 charged the club’s national president, Jeff Garvin, “Fat Dog” Smith and 17 other Diciples members with drug trafficking, but then dropped the case six months later. In July 2012, 41 members and associates of the Devils Diciples, including Fat Dog Smith and national vice president Paul Anthony Darrah, were indicted on a variety of criminal charges, including racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal firearms offenses, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling, and other federal offenses. Eighteen of the defendants, including Smith and Darrah, were charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
What is known is that ultimately Kinzey became the target of an investigation that involved intense surveillance which tracked his movements and saw his communications, both telephonic and via the internet, closely monitored.
Somewhat ironically, as law enforcement sought to close the net in August 2011 and began rolling up the individuals in his immediate orbit involved in drug trafficking and descended on Kinzey’s upscale East Highlands Ranch Spanish-style home where they nabbed Robinson and found a pound of methampetamine, loaded handguns and rifles and Kinzey’s biker leathers, Kinzey, who was known by the moniker “Skinz,” slipped the grasp of the agents who had been monitoring hims so closely for months and avoided arrest. He subsequently came to court with his lawyer to surrender, posted $300,000 bond and was released without being arrested, booked, photographed or fingerprinted.
Last month, on December 3, Judge Cheryl Kersey scheduled a preliminary hearing on the case against Kinzey and his two remaining codefendants for February 1.
Kinzey, Robinson and Disney are being prosecuted by deputy district attorney Jill Gregory.
Despite Cortez, Freer, Johnson, Preszler, Flores, Witherell, Rikerd, and Padilla having turned state’s evidence, Kinzey, Robinson and Disney are continuing to fight the charges and there has been close cooperation between their attorneys’ James Glick, Stephen Sweigart and Ann Cunningham, which has prevented Gregory from being able to play the defendants off against one another.

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