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Professor is accused of being a biker-gang leader and drug dealer

Stephen J. Kinzey, who teaches kinesiology at Cal State San Bernardino, is being sought by authorities after they raided his Highland home and arrested nine alleged accomplices in a methamphetamine ring.

September 02, 2011|By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
  • Some of the items recovered in the raid of the Highland home of Cal State San Bernardino professor Stephen J. Kenzey are displayed at a news conference. Authorities seized more than a pound of methamphetamine as well as rifles, handguns and biker paraphernalia.
Some of the items recovered in the raid of the Highland home of Cal State San… (Phil Willon / Los Angeles…)

A Cal State San Bernardino professor who chaired academic committees, tweeted his concerns about child obesity and lived quietly in a well-trimmed Highland neighborhood stands accused of living a shadow life of a heavily armed biker-gang member and drug dealer.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Thursday said Stephen J. Kinzey, a 43-year-old kinesiology professor, allegedly led a local chapter of the Devils Diciples Outlaw motorcycle gang and a methamphetamine drug operation that brought in tens of thousands of dollars.

Authorities arrested nine suspected mid- and street-level dealers involved in the drug ring shortly after raiding Kinzey's home, where they allegedly found more than a pound of methamphetamine, rifles, handguns, body armor, leather biker vests and other biker paraphernalia.

Kinzey remains a fugitive and is considered armed and dangerous, officials said.

During the Aug. 26 raid, detectives arrested Kinzey's live-in girlfriend, Holly V. Robinson, 33, a 2005 Cal State San Bernardino graduate, on suspicion of distributing methamphetamine. She is accused of being Kinzey's "business partner" in the drug operation and has been released on bail.

Police also found an undisclosed amount of cash at the couple's house and said all the guns recovered were unregistered.

"To have an associate professor who is a member of the Devils Diciples and allegedly dealing methamphetamine is quite alarming. I mean, it's unusual to say the least," Sheriff Rod Hoops said at a news conference in San Bernardino.

Lead Detective Jason Rosenbaum said the joint Sheriff's Department-FBI investigation began with a drug bust in the San Bernardino area six months ago and quickly led to Kinzey.

The drugs were allegedly sold through a network of dealers in San Bernardino, Highland, Redlands and Mentone. The investigation into the possible sale of drugs on the college campus is continuing, Rosenbaum said.

Cal State San Bernardino President Albert K. Karnig pledged the university's full cooperation.

"Our university Police Department and the entire campus community, as relevant, will work as closely as possible with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department to assist with the investigation to help assure that all the facts are accurate," Karnig said in a statement. "If the allegations are indeed true, this is beyond disappointing."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven D. Sanchez said two lawyers contacted by Kinzey had called his office, saying the professor wanted to know what the bail amount would be if he turned himself in. No bail amount has been set because Kinzey is a fugitive, Sanchez said. As of Thursday evening, Kinzey remained at large.

Kinzey, who has taught at Cal State San Bernardino for 10 years, has a doctorate degree from the University of Toledo in Ohio, a master's degree from Indiana State University and a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University in Detroit.

His father, Hank Kinzey of Rochester Hills, Mich., said he was "sick to my stomach" after learning about the allegations against his son from a newspaper reporter Thursday afternoon.

"My son is a Christian. He's a good father of a good little girl," the elder Kinzey said. "My son doesn't drink. My son doesn't smoke. I don't get it. He's a PhD."

Hank Kinzey said he went on a motorcycle ride with his son just a month ago in Michigan and admitted having some concerns when his son told him years ago that he had joined a "motorcycle club."

"I was surprised that he joined that club lifestyle, but he always kept it away from work," Hank Kinzey said.

Stephen Kinzey has a 15-year-old daughter from a previous marriage and never got into trouble growing up, his father said.

Besides allegedly being president of the mountain chapter of the Devils Diciples motorcycle club, county records show that Kinzey organized the San Bernardino-based Saxon Motorcycle Club in 2006. An article posted on the national website of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club — whose members were immortalized by the 1953 movie "The Wild One" starring Marlon Brando — described how Kinzey revived the Los Angeles area chapter of the Boozefighters club. Kinzey is referred to as "Skinz."

Kinzey's neighbors in the upscale East Highlands Ranch community said the professor and his girlfriend were reserved and friendly, although occasionally their driveway would be filled with friends who rode over on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Still, the couple never had loud parties or fired up their bikes late at night.

"It turns our stomach," one neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said after hearing the news. "And here I thought our neighborhood was so lovingly boring."

Kinzey and Robinson's two-story, clay-tile-roof home was immaculate, with blooming flowers out front and towering palms on either side. A sticker from a Redlands gun shop was plastered on the front door. It read: "Gun control should be hitting what you aim at."

phil.willon@latimes.com

Los Angeles Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

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