U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced that at least 217 people have been charged with a federal crime, and more than 1,000 arrests have been made in major metropolitan cities since the Department of Justice launched Operation Legend in July, according to Fox News.
According to reports, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has seized nearly 400 firearms.
Barr launched Operation Legend on July 8 as “a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime,” the DOJ said in a release.
“LeGend is a symbol of the many hundreds of innocent lives that have been taken in the recent upsurge of crime in many of our urban areas,” Barr said at a press conference in Kansas City. “His life mattered and the lives of all of those victims matter. His name should be remembered and his senseless death, like those of all the other innocent victims in this recent surge, should be unacceptable to all Americans.”
“We saw one result of those efforts last week when Kansas City Police arrested the suspected murderer of LeGend,” Barr said. “This arrest will not bring LeGend back but it will make his case an example of how we can come together to take violent criminals off the street and to make our communities safer.”
“Operation Legend is the heart of the federal government’s response to this upturn in violent crime. Its mission is to save lives, solve crimes and take violent offenders off the streets before they can claim more victims,” Barr said. “Rather than demonizing and defunding our police, we are supporting and strengthening our law enforcement partners at the state and local level.”
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It was named in honor of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept in the early morning of June 29 in Kansas City, Mo. Last week, a Jackson County prosecutor announced second-degree murder charges against his suspected killer, 22-year-old Ryson Ellis, who was being held in Tulsa County Jail.
In Kansas City, a total of 43 defendants have been charged with federal crimes. Sixty-one have been charged with federal charges in Chicago, 16 in Albuquerque, 32 in Cleveland, 22 in Detroit, 11 in Milwaukee, 25 in St. Louis, and 7 in Memphis, Tenn.
The charges include illegal possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances or narcotics, drug trafficking, theft, carjacking, bank robbery, illegal re-entry of an alien in connection with a widespread drug conspiracy, and making false statements to licensed firearm dealers.