Sons of Silence Harley to Law Museum

Motorcycle Gangs

When the National Law Enforcement Museum opens in late 2013, it will tell the fascinating stories of federal law enforcement in America – thanks, in part, to generous loans from federal agencies, such as the 1963 Harley-Davidson used by an agent while investigating the Sons of Silence. MC clubs such as the Sons of Silence have influenced the popular FX series Sons of Anarchy.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is lending the Museum the Harley used for over three decades by Undercover ATF agents while investigating the worst of the worst criminals across this country.

From 1997 to 1999 ATF Agent Blake Boteler used the motorcycle to infiltrate the Sons of Silence outlaw motorcycle organization which ultimately led to the arrest of over 85 members and associates on weapons charges and drug trafficking charges in Colorado.

Craig W. Floyd (chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the DC-based non-profit that is leading the creation of the Museum) says: "Undercover operations such as those that took down Al Capone and the Sons of Silence outlaw motorcycle gang are seminal moments in American law enforcement history, illustrating the professionalism, courage and determination of our country’s federal law enforcement officers."

"Now, through these objects, we will be able to tell these stories in ways that are compelling and educational. We are very grateful to the IRS and the ATF for sharing these objects with us, so that we in turn can share them with the American public through the National Law Enforcement Museum."

Special Agent Boteler was one of two undercover ATF agents who infiltrated the Sons of Silence outlaw motorcycle club, which trafficked illegal weapons and drugs in the Midwestern United States in the 1990s.

On Oct. 9, 1999, following a two-year investigation, over 85 Sons of Silence members and their associates were arrested on illegal weapons and drug trafficking charges.

This investigation was significant for the number of violent criminals removed from the community, the unprecedented risks that the two ATF agents took by infiltrating this national organization and for the amount of firearms and narcotics that were either purchased or seized to include 126 firearms, 27 machineguns, 3 sawed-off shotguns, 5 silencers 4 hand grenades, 4 improvised explosive devices, over 25 pounds of methamphetamine, 13 motorcycles and 2 clubhouses.

Kenneth E. Melson (ATF Deputy Director) says: "This motorcycle represents just one of the tools used in a two-year undercover investigation that took some of the country’s worst criminals off the streets. It’s an honor for all the men and women of ATF to have it displayed in the National Law Enforcement Museum so its story can be shared with everyone who visits the museum."

Also, the Internal Revenue Service is lending the Museum a number of historically significant items, including the .38-caliber, top break, 5 shot, pearl-handled handgun used by mobster Al Capone, as well as the Victor .32-caliber 5 shot of IRS Agent Michael Malone, who led the investigation that brought Capone to justice in 1931.