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Press Release

Sons of Silence Enforcer and Convicted Felon Sentenced to Federal Prison for Possessing a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A man who was the enforcer for the Northern Iowa Chapter of the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club was sentenced yesterday to 10 months in federal prison.

Justin Carlson, age 38, from Sheffield, Iowa, received the prison term after a March 19, 2021 guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In the guilty plea and sentencing proceedings, Carlson admitted that on April 5, 2020, Carlson, a convicted felon, and other members of the Sons of Silence and another affiliated group confronted a motorcyclist, who was an off-duty police officer, claiming the officer needed permission from the Sons of Silence to wear one of the patches on the back of the motorcyclist’s jacket.  In a subsequent search of Carlson’s home in Sheffield, Iowa, officers recovered Carlson’s Sons of Silence motorcycle vest, which had a brass knuckles in the pocket, numerous items of Sons of Silence paraphernalia, and two firearms.

Carlson was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Carlson was sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment and must also serve a two-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.         

Carlson was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick J. Reinert and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force, Clarion Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Waverly Police Department, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Algona Police Department, and the Wright County Sheriff’s Department. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-CR-3035.

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Updated August 20, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses