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Avengers Motorcycle Club member gets prison time for illegal guns found after wife’s homicide

Published in 1%er News and All News

FLINT, MI — A member of the Avengers Motorcycle Club will spend nearly four years in federal prison after authorities discovered illegal guns in his Flint home while investigating the death of his wife.

Frank Bartels was sentenced to three years, 10 months in federal prison Tuesday, March 25, by Flint U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. Bartels pleased guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm after authorities discovered multiple illegal firearms in his south side home in early 2012.

Police were called Jan. 13, 2012, to Bartels' home on Van Buskirk Street regarding the possible suicide of his wife, Shane Bartels. Bartels handed officers a hand-written note that he said he found in the basement of his home, according to court records.

Police found the death suspicious and secured a search warrant for the home, where they discovered a stolen .410-caliber pistol, a sawed-off shotgun, a semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun, court records show.

He was previously convicted of felonious assault in September 1990.

Police also discovered a leather vest for the Avengers, which is labeled as a gang in 2011 national threat gang assessment by the FBI.

Bartels was interviewed by police and acknowledged that the firearms were in the basement. He also admitted that he encouraged fellow Avengers member Raymond Scarbrough to falsify an affidavit and claim that some of the firearms were purchased by another person, according to court records.

Scarbrough was sentenced to more than three years in prison in December after pleading guilty to a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was arrested after selling a TEC-9 pistol to a confidential informant in the parking lot of McDonald's on Stewart Avenue.

Police initially called Shane Bartels' death suspicious, but they later ruled the death a homicide. The cause of death was asphyxiation. No charges related to the death were ever filed.

Writer: Gary Ridley