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Sons of Silence member pleads to weapons charge

SHEFFIELD —- A Sons of Silence member has pleaded to federal gun charges stemming from a 2020 raid.

Justin Anthony Carlson, 38, of Sheffield, pleaded to one count of felon in possession of a firearm Friday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. He remains free pending sentencing.

Authorities allege Carlson, an enforcer for the motorcycle club, was in possession of a J.O. Israeli Arms 9 mm pistol and a J.C. Higgins 12-gauge shotgun despite a prior felony drug conviction, according to court records.

The weapons were found when police searched the homes of club members on June 11 after an off-duty police officer was threatened by a group wearing Sons of Silence and Sworn Silence vests while riding his motorcycle with his wife on Iowa Highway 3 near Clarion in April.

The officer was wearing a vest with the Gunfighters logo with an Iowa rocker patch, denoting membership in the law-enforcement motorcycle club’s Iowa chapter.

Court records allege a member of the group demanded the off-duty officer hand over his vest and threatened to “knock his block off” when the officer responded that he didn’t need permission to wear the vest.

The harassment continued until the officer phoned 911, and the group left.

Carlson and four others were arrested on criminal gang participation charges in the Clarion incident, but prosecutors with the Wright County Attorney’s Office dropped the charges last week for lack of evidence, according to court records.