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October 2, 2013

City man cops plea in cycle gang case

SALEM — The 54-year-old Gloucester man charged in connection with a kidnapping and extortion case tied to the notorious Hells Angels motorcycle gang has pleaded guilty to his charge and sentenced to two years’ probation.

Nikolas Avelis, 54, one of six defendants in the case, pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The plea came as jury selection began in Salem Superior Court in the trial of four other men — three reputed Hells Angels and another said to be part of an affiliated gang — on charges that include extortion, kidnapping and mayhem.

The men are charged with forcing a former member, a Revere man, to turn over the title to his motorcycle, which they took last October after kicking him out of the Red Devils motorcycle gang, an affiliated group, and smashing the man’s hand with a hammer.

On trial are Marc Eliason, 35, of Danvers; Sean Barr, 48, of Lynn; and Robert Defronzo, 45, of Saugus, all said to be members of the Hells Angels Salem chapter (based in Lynn); and Brian Weymouth, 41, of Danvers, who is alleged to be a member of the Red Devils, based in Newbury. Besides kidnapping and extortion, they are charged with mayhem, assault and battery, and larceny.

A fifth defendant, George Brown, 49, of Salem, another reputed Hells Angel, has also reached an agreement with prosecutors under which he will testify against his alleged former associates. Brown has also been testifying before a federal grand jury, prosecutors disclosed last week.

All of the men were charged earlier this year, months after the October 2012 incident at the clubhouse. The alleged victim’s fiancee contacted the FBI after learning of threats against her, the alleged victim and their son.

Prosecutors said Gloucester resident Avelis is not cooperating in the case, nor will he testify in the trial. The offer made to him, he said, was based on Avelis’ minimal role in the incidents.

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