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Federal Raid of Alleged Motorcycle Gang Leader Results in Weapons Seizure, Arrest

Federal Raid of Alleged Motorcycle Gang Leader Results in Weapons Seizure, Arrest

EAST BRIDGEWATER – The regional president of a motorcycle gang was arrested in his home on weapons charges in what a federal affidavit alleges may be the result of an ongoing feud between two rival gangs.

Bruce Sartwell, 48, was taken into custody at his home in East Bridgewater after the Department of Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant at his Plymouth Street residence at approximately 10 am on Wednesday.

The raid occurred after investigators allege a silencer originating from China and addressed to Sartwell at his East Bridgewater home was seized by Customs Border Protection at JFK International Airport on October 19th. After reviewing importation records, 65 shipments of firearms and accessories from Asia have been found addressed to Sartwell at his Plymouth Street residence since 2018, according to the Brockton Enterprise.

After surveillance revealed Sartwell accepted and signed for the package containing the silencer, he admitted to receiving it but claimed it was an airsoft suppressor he ordered regularly using the Wish mobile app.

The raid resulted in the seizure of an unregistered AR-15 “ghost gun,” (without any manufacturing or serial numbers allowing it to be traced) in addition to 150 rounds of ammunition, 20 knives, illegal silencers, multiple black powder rifles and pistols as well as an instruction book about how to make an AR-15.

According to the affidavit, Sartwell is the regional president of the Brockton/East Bridgewater chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club and has an arrest record dating back to 1987, including charges of extortion. He had previously been implicated in a 2009 federal firearms sweep that resulted in 27 arrests, but was never formally charged.

The affidavit also indicates the Outlaws have been in a dispute with the Hell’s Angels, resulting in murder charges against Joseph Noe, 25, Taunton after Eric Voshell, 39, Oak Bluffs was shot and killed in Fall River last month.

“These gangs utilize violence, fear and intimidation to impose their will, make money and protect criminal enterprises,” said DHS Special Agent Michael Belli.

Sartwell was charged in U.S. District Court with unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm. During his initial appearance on Wednesday, he was held without bail and remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service.

His next appearance in court has yet to be scheduled.


Photo by Ryan on Unsplash