|Birth: ||Aug. 25, 1941|
New Haven County
|Death: ||Apr. 22, 2012|
John "Jack" J. Baltas, 70, died Sunday, April 22, 2012 at Leominster Hospital in Leominster, Mass. He was the son of the late Anne Prisco.
Jack was born on Aug. 25, 1941, in Meriden. Known to his friends as "Cadillac Jack", he was a longtime resident of Meriden and attended local schools. Jack's true passion in life was his love of motorcycles and his motorcycle club. He was the founder of the East Coast Diablo's MC and also the Clubs Past National President. Jack also enjoyed spending time at the shore in Westbrook and Milford. He was "one of a kind", a man who cared about his neighbors and who was always a reliable friend.
He is survived by his children, John Baltas Jr., and his wife, Cheryl, of Yucaipa, Calif., Damon Baltas-St. John and his wife, Kim, of Northford, Shane Baltas, of Meriden, Jackie Medellin and her husband, Matthew, of San Antonio, Texas, Heather Gish and her husband, Scott, of Kensington, Joe Baltas, of Meriden, Nadeine Baltas, of Meriden; his sister, Kathy Schwartz; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jack was predeceased by his daughter, Kim Foglio; and a sister, Joanne DeMarco-Thorpe.
Family and friends are invited to pay their respects on Wednesday, April 25, at the Smith-Ruzzo Funeral Home, 450 Broad St., Meriden from 3 until 9 p.m. A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. from the Smith-Ruzzo Funeral Home when the funeral cortege will proceed to Walnut Grove Cemetery for a 10:30 a.m. burial. To send an online expression of sympathy please visit www.smithruzzofuneralhome.com
Published in The Record-Journal on April 24, 2012
MERIDEN — John J. "Jack" Baltas Sr., the former Diablos motorcycle gang leader, died Sunday at the age of 70.
Baltas was released from federal prison on Friday after spending the past 16 years in jail for conspiracy to possess and distribute heroin. Baltas was arrested in 1996 on the charges and convicted in November 1998.
Baltas had reportedly been suffering from heart trouble.
Before serving time in prison, Baltas, a Meriden native who grew up in a two-family house on Maple Street, was a popular figure in the community. He was known for helping the city as well as getting in trouble with the law. Through the 1970s and 1980s, Baltas was fined and jailed on a number of charges, including gambling, assault, possessing a silencer and distributing stolen motorcycle parts.
People in Meriden knew Baltas for his good work and kind deeds. Friends and neighbors of Baltas, who during his adult life lived on Grove Street near the Diablos clubhouse, knew Baltas as someone who would buy lunch for the needy or help neighbors with chores.
Former Meriden Mayor Joseph Marinan grew up a couple of streets away from Baltas in their Irish-Italian neighborhood. Marinan used to play softball with a group of men at Forte's Cafe, four doors away from the Diablos clubhouse. Marinan said the owner of the cafe didn't allow club members into his establishment, as he thought it would affect business.
"As mayor I had a number of meetings with Jack about the condition of the neighborhood and role with the clubhouse," Marinan said Sunday night.
Marinan said Baltas always treated him respectfully and complied with him. At times there were issues with the large number of motorcycles outside the club or the late-night fireworks being set off at the clubhouse.
In 1993, at age 51, Baltas ran for City Council as a petitioning candidate. The burly, flannel-wearing man with tattoos, long hair and beard told the Record-Journal days before the election that he was "fed up with the politics at City Hall and all the bickering that's going on up there." Baltas said he never wanted to be a politician, but wanted to represent the "little people."
Baltas lost the election to then 21-year-old volunteer firefighter Brian Sheftel by a 816-455 vote.
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April 13, 1996
Meriden-based Bikers Charged After Fbi Sting.....
Stefano Bertoldo, president of the Diablos biker gang in Connecticut, apparently found a soulmate last year in Mark Pecora, whom he came to know as a dealer in stolen cars with useful Boston mob connections...... . . By springtime, federal authorities said Friday, Bertoldo felt comfortable sitting in a Springfield hotel with Pecora, finalizing a $100,000 cocaine deal and....... plotting the murder of an annoying Meriden police officer.
``I want this mother . . . whacked,'' Bertoldo told Pecora at the Marriott Hotel. ``This mother . . . has been playing with me for six years, and this time he played too hard.'' Pecora promised to handle it.. . . . . But the man Bertoldo had just entrusted with the killing of a police officer was an undercover FBI agent, backed by a surveillance team that recorded the whole conversation on videotape, authorities said Friday. . . . . .In interviews and court documents, officials described a laborious and dangerous 18-month investigation that culminated this week in federal narcotics, weapons, larceny and murder-for-hire charges against 17 bikers from Connecticut and western Massachusetts.. . . . .``The leaders of a notorious national motorcycle gang, which traffics in drugs and violence, have been stopped in their tracks,'' Donald K. Stern, U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, said at a press conference in Springfield. . . . .Among those arrested were Bertoldo, the president of the Diablos' Connecticut chapter, and John J. ``Cadillac Jack'' Baltas, the founder and national president of the Diablos. Both men live in Meriden, where the gang has managed to maintain its clubhouse for the past 23 years -- despite frequent battles with police. . . . .``These people have been charged many times,'' said a smiling Kenneth H. Kirschner, commissioner of the Connecticut State Police. ``This time I think they won't be in business ever again.''
Under tough federal drug laws, many of those charged face minimum mandatory sentences of at least 10 years in prison. And federal prosecutors typically enjoy conviction rates of nearly 100 percent in gang cases, which nearly always are based on extensive electronic surveillance. . . . Christopher F. Droney, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, said the Diablos case was patterned after other cooperative efforts used in Connecticut against the Latin Kings, Los Solidos and other street gangs. ...... An affidavit by Special Agent Clifford W. Hedges of the FBI's Springfield office gives a history of the Diablos and the investigation. Some of the affidavit was based on background by Glenn Odell, a Wallingford detective familiar with the Diablos. He was detached to the FBI to work on the investigation. . . .
The Diablos investigation began in October 1994, when a confidential informant supervised by Hedges started to hang out with the bikers in Springfield. The club made him a full member in March 1995, giving him access to meetings in Meriden and Springfield.
Kimberly Anne Baltas Foglio (1963 - 2008)*
Walnut Grove Cemetery
New Haven County
Created by: Bettie
Record added: Apr 24, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 89051001