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Hogsett Announces Eight Charged in Sons of Silence Investigation

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Motorcycles Topics:  Sons of Silence

Hogsett Announces Eight Charged in Sons of Silence Investigation

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana
August 27, 2011

Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced the charging of eight defendants in the United States District Court in Indianapolis following an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, including the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Hogsett declared, “Violent crime—wherever it occurs, whoever is responsible—is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This particular case involves a motorcycle gang. Yesterday, it was a group of individuals involved in the shooting of a police officer in Terre Haute. All are meeting the same fate—tough, aggressive federal prosecution.” The defendants were charged in two separate indictments, a criminal information, and a criminal complaint. The charges include methamphetamine trafficking, money laundering, and firearms offenses.

The principal indictment in the case charges five defendants with conspiracy to distribute significant quantities of methamphetamine. The indictment charges that Gary Baker, a resident of Indianapolis, obtained the methamphetamine from a source of supply in Michigan. Baker distributed a portion of the methamphetamine that he received to James E. Taylor, Jr, a/k/a Pork Chop. Taylor, in turn, distributed his methamphetamine to Jackie Craft, a/k/a Little Jack, and Stephen Davis, Jr. Taylor and Craft are members of the Indianapolis chapter of the Sons of Silence motorcycle club. Davis is a member of the Indianapolis chapter of the Vigilantes motorcycle club. The indictment further charges that James R. Baker transported drug proceeds from Indianapolis to Michigan to pay Gary Baker’s source for the methamphetamine. James Baker is the son of Gary Baker.

The principal indictment also charges James Taylor with one count of distributing over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, Craft with possession of a stolen firearm, and Davis with possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. The indictment indicates that the firearm possessed by Craft was a service weapon stolen from an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department vehicle on or about November 26, 2009.

Hogsett stated that the second indictment, which remains sealed, charges another member of the Sons of Silence motorcycle club with a methamphetamine trafficking offense. That indictment remained sealed because the defendant has not been apprehended. In addition, the criminal information charges Aaron Byers with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The criminal complaint charges Joseph Woolsey with possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and possession of a stolen firearm. Woolsey is also a member of the Indianapolis chapter of the Sons of Silence.

The prosecution resulted is the result of a four-month investigation conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which involved the execution of controlled purchases of methamphetamine, interdiction activity, wire and electronic surveillance, and the execution of search warrants. Hogsett stated that the FBI executed six search warrants in Indianapolis on August 4, including a search warrant at the Sons of Silence clubhouse on West Michigan Street in Indianapolis. The FBI executed a seventh search warrant in Indianapolis on August 6. During the investigation, the FBI seized over one and one-half pounds of methamphetamine, over 40 firearms, approximately $20,000 in currency, and several motorcycles with altered vehicle identification numbers.

Brad Blackington, senior litigation counsel for the United States Attorney, and the individual responsible for prosecuting the case for the government, observed that the investigation was noteworthy in several respects. First, the investigation involves the first largescale federal prosecution of individuals associated with a motorcycle gang since 2002, when members of the Diablos Motorcycle Club in Terre Haute were successfully prosecuted for methamphetamine trafficking offenses. Second, Blackington noted that the criminal activities of the Sons of Silence members were both serious and diversified, as the criminal conduct involved methamphetamine trafficking, money laundering, firearms offenses, and stolen motorcycles. Third, Blackington cited the purity of the seized methamphetamine, which ranged from 98.2 percent pure to 100 percent pure. Blackington indicated that methamphetamine distributed on the street typically has a purity level of 40 percent or less and that the seizure of pure methamphetamine in Indiana is rare.

Initial hearings on Taylor, Craft, Davis, and Woolsey were held before United States Magistrate Judge Kennard P. Foster on August 26, 2011. An initial hearing on Byers will be scheduled later. Both Gary Baker and James Baker remain fugitives.

Hogsett stated that the investigation remains ongoing and that he expected to have additional defendants charged as the investigation progressed.

The indictment is an allegation only, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial or by guilty plea.

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