A federal grand jury Thursday indicted on a gun charge an East Bridgewater man described by prosecutors as the regional boss of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, authorities said.
Bruce “Monster” Sartwell, 48, was indicted on a sole count of possession of an unregistered firearm, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office said in a statement. A public defender for Sartwell, who’s remained in custody since his October arrest, declined to comment Friday afternoon. Sartwell is slated for arraignment Jan. 3 in US District Court in Boston.
Special Agent Michael Belli of the Department of Homeland Security provided material on Sartwell in an affidavit filed in October in Sartwell’s case. Belli wrote in the filing that the Outlaws were involved in a “violent feud” with the rival Hells Angels.
Prosecutors have called Sartwell the regional president of the Brockton/East Bridgewater chapters of the Outlaws.
On Sept. 13 in Fall River, Belli wrote, a different Outlaws member allegedly fatally shot a member of a Hells Angels affiliate group, leading to the suspected gunman’s arrest for murder.
Sartwell, a convicted felon with an arrest record dating back to 1987, is barred from possessing firearms because of his rap sheet, according to legal filings.
Prosecutors said in October that “a search warrant executed at Sartwell’s residence” resulted in “the recovery of an AR-15 styled ‘ghost gun’ — a firearm without any manufacturing or serial numbers — and firearm manufacturing tools and assembly parts including milling equipment, buffer spring, buffer tube, air-powered water dremel polish and a drill press.”
In addition, prosecutors said, two “firearm silencers concealed in false bottom compartments, a guide for assembly and disassembly of an AR-15 rifle, 20 knives, a black powder handgun, a flare gun, and various ammunition compatible with the AR-15 styled rifle were also found.”
In November, Sartwell’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to get him out on bail, writing in court papers that he “has a loving wife and two young children, he is a local business owner in the city of Brockton, and … his criminal history, such as it is, ended more than ten years ago.”
His lawyers wrote that while the charge he faces is serious, “he is not a ‘serious’ risk of flight or a danger to the community simply because he happens to be the Regional President of the Brockton/E. Bridgewater Chapters of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (‘MC’) and or goes by the nickname ‘Monster.’ ”
The defense said Sartwell and his wife also run a tattoo parlor.
And, the defense maintained, the feds haven’t tied Sartwell to any recent violence.
During a November detention hearing, Sartwell’s lawyers wrote, the court had to “prod” prosecutors about “generic references in the criminal complaint affidavit … to an Outlaw MC ‘feud’ with the Hells Angels MC as well as a murder/shooting involving a nameless Outlaw MC member in September of 2019 to see if those had any connection whatsoever to Mr. Sartwell. The answer was a resounding ‘no.’ ”
The November defense filing also took aim at the alleged discovery of two silencers on Sartwell’s property.
“The government’s presentation at the detention hearing regarding the 2 ‘silencers’ discovered by investigators in Mr. Sartwell’s case … raises questions regarding their function (Airsoft versus real firearm) and Mr. Sartwell’s intended use for those items,” his lawyers wrote. ”This does not add to the ‘dangerousness’ calculus.”
Prosecutors countered in a separate court filing that Sartwell’s criminal history “includes charges and/or convictions for the use of weapons, assaultive conduct, threats and extortion. The evidence … shows that the defendant is not afraid to instill fear in and violence upon individuals who cross him.”
And, prosecutors wrote, Sartwell “successfully created an AR-15 style rifle that is compatible with the large capacity magazines and 153 rounds of ammunition found hidden within the confines of his residence. … What concerns the government and should concern this Court is that not only did the defendant successfully build a completely functional AR-15 style rifle within the confines of the very home that he requests this Court to release him to, but that he had additional parts in and on his ‘Monster Bar’ ready to build an additional one.”
Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley ultimately sided with the feds, ordering Sartwell detained while his case is pending, records show. If convicted of the gun count, Sartwell could spend up to 10 years behind bars, according to the government.
“Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors,” Lelling’s office said.