News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 15, 2012

Sons of Silence duo faces prison

Tribune-Star staff report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Two Terre Haute men have been sentenced to federal prison after admitting their connection to the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club.

Travis Umphries, 35, and Dustin Coffey, 25, were sentenced to federal prison by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker following their guilty pleas to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats of violence and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Umphries was sentenced to 145 months  -- or 12 years, 1 month -- imprisonment and Coffey was sentenced to a year of home detention.

“Our message has been clear and it has been consistent: zero tolerance for those who use guns to terrorize Hoosier neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said. “Through our Violent Crime Initiative, we’re targeting these criminal organizations and putting an end to their deadly trade of drugs, violence, and illegally-possessed firearms.

Umphries and Coffey were arrested as part of an investigation into a methamphetamine trafficking organization operating in Indianapolis which had extensive connections to motorcycle clubs operating throughout Indiana. The methamphetamine trafficking organization operated from approximately May 2010 until the arrests of most of the members of the organization on August 6, 2011. Umphries and Coffey were “hang-arounds” with the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club in Terre Haute.

Umphries and Coffey assisted Phillip Mannebach, a member of the Sons of Silence motorcycle gang, with the abduction of Mannebach’s stepson in Terre Haute on Nov. 1, 2010. The victim of the abduction had stolen approximately $5,000 from Mannebach, who had obtained the money from methamphetamine trafficking activity in Terre Haute. After realizing that the victim had stolen the money, Mannebach directed Umphries and Coffey to accompany him to a third person’s residence to abduct the victim.  

Mannebach entered the residence, assaulted the victim with a firearm, and ordered the victim out of the residence at gunpoint. Mannebach directed Umphries and Coffey to transport the victim to Mannebach’s motorcycle repair garage, located in the 2000 block of Maple Avenue in Terre Haute. Mannebach ziptied the victim to a chair in the bathroom of the garage until Nov. 3, 2010, when the victim located a utility tool in the bathroom, cut the zipties, and fled the garage.

Mannebach was convicted on federal charges at trial in November. His sentencing date has not yet been scheduled, but will likely occur in February or March 2013.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force in Indianapolis as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). Announced in March of 2011, the VCI represents a district-wide strategy to work with local law enforcement and county prosecutors to combat drug traffickers and criminals that use and carry firearms in their illegal activities. In the first year of the initiative, the VCI produced a dramatic increase in the number of violent gun-related charges brought federally – from just 14 felony possession charges in 2010 to more than 100 last year.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley A. Blackington, who prosecuted the case for the government, Umphries was sentenced to 3 years of supervised release following his release from federal prison and Coffey was sentenced to 3 years of supervised release. The conditions of supervised release subject both defendants to random urinalysis and random searches of their persons, vehicles, and residences by probation officers.