Former President of Diablos Motorcycle Gang Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison, Reports U.S. Attorney.
United States Attorney Donald K. Stern and Barry W. Mawn, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor sentenced STEFANO BERTOLDO, age 32, formerly of 35 North Spring St., Meriden, Connecticut, to 19 years and 2 months' imprisonment with a five year period of supervised release.
At an earlier hearing, a federal prosecutor explained that BERTOLDO was a member of the Diablos Motorcycle Club which has chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Indiana, California and elsewhere. The Club was founded in the 1960s in San Bernardino, California. The Diablos is a self-described "outlaw" motorcycle club, i.e., a club engaged illegal activities.
Diablos members raised money through interstate trafficking in stolen motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts.
BERTOLDO, former president of the Connecticut chapter, had entered his guilty plea on September 24th, 1998, when he admitted before Judge Ponsor, that he had solicited an undercover FBI Agent to murder a Meriden police officer early in 1996. He also pled guilty to conspiring with Kenneth Sears and Shane Baltas to possess cocaine with intent to distribute it. BERTOLDO, Sears and Baltas, were arrested at the Northampton Airport on April 11, 1996, as they took delivery of 20 kilograms of cocaine from undercover FBI Agents.
BERTOLDO was named in a second superseding indictment which was returned October 1997 in U.S. District Court in Springfield. A total of 17 members of the outlaw Diablos motorcycle club were charged with offenses including racketeering, murder for hire, trafficking in drugs and stolen property, and firearms offenses. Nine defendants entered guilty pleas before trial. Four others, including BERTOLDO, pled guilty during the second week of trial. Three defendants were convicted on November 5, 1998, following a two month trial.
The Diablos investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Massachusetts and Connecticut State Police; and the Wallingford, Connecticut Police Department; with assistance Massachusetts State Police Detective Units of Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel, Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett, and New Haven County State's Attorney Michael Dearington. The case was prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Jeffrey Kinder, former Chief of Stern's Springfield Office, and Amy Chang Lee, a Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.