Over 6,000 arrests were made across nine cities during the Department of Justice’s Operation Legend, created to crack down on skyrocketing violent crime fueled by the global COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest.
Since the operation’s launch in July, the DOJ has seized over 2,600 firearms, more than 32 kilos of heroin and 17 fentanyl, over 300 kilos of methamphetamine and 135 kilos of cocaine, as well as more than $11 million in “drug and other illicit proceeds,” according to a Department of Justice press release.
Of the more than 6,000 arrests, 467 were for homicide and nearly 1,500 were charged with federal crimes. The DOJ said 815 defendants were charged for firearms-related crimes and 566 for drug offenses.
“Operation Legend removed violent criminals, domestic abusers, carjackers and drug traffickers from nine cities which were experiencing stubbornly high crime and took illegal firearms, illegal narcotics and illicit monies off the streets,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “By most standards, many would consider these results as a resounding success—amid a global pandemic, the results are extraordinary.”
First launched in Kansas City, Mo., the operation quickly expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque. By August, Operation Legend included Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, and Indianapolis.
St. Louis topped the list with the most federal charges filed, including 193 for narcotics, 231 for firearms-related crimes and 26 for other violence offenses.
According to the press release, the operation was created “as a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative” to include a partnership with state and local law enforcement in an effort to combat rising violent crime.
“I commend our federal law enforcement and prosecutors for seamlessly executing this operation in partnership with state and local law enforcement,” said Attorney General Barr. “When we launched Operation Legend, our goal was to disrupt and reduce violent crime, hold violent offenders accountable and give these communities the safety they deserve in memory of LeGend Taliferro, whose young life was claimed by violent crime, undoubtedly, we achieved it.”
The operation was named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old who was shot and killed as he was sleeping during the early hours of June 29 in Kansas City.
According to the DOJ, the Office of Community Oriented Polices Services gave $60 million in funding for 290 officers for Operation Legend and connected efforts. The Office of Justice Programs provided almost $9 million in grants to assist the operation.