Federal agents, assigned to help Chicago officials address an ongoing spike in violence, have arrested and charged three individuals with federal gun crimes, the Chicago Sun-Times reports — the first such arrests under the new “Operation Legend” initiative.
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot and President Donald Trump agreed, on Thursday, to bring federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into a partnership with the city’s crime control efforts to help stem the bloodshed that has rocked Chicago since late May, when coronavirus-related lockdown measures were lifted.
Code-named “Operation Legend” after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro who was killed in the ongoing violence in Kansas City, Missouri, last month, the initiative is designed “to fight the sudden surge of violent crime” in many major cities, according to the Department of Justice.
After several days of heated back-and-forth with President Donald Trump and other federal officials — and after 15 mourners were wounded in a drive-by shooting at a funeral service on the city’s south side — Lightfoot begrudgingly agreed to allow Operation Legend to operate in Chicago, provided assigned agents assist Chicago police officials, rather than station themselves to aggressively defend federal property, as Customs and Border Patrol is doing in Portland, Oregon.
The Feds announced the first Operation Legend arrests late Friday, just a day after the initiative was first authorized.
“Three men charged with illegally possessing guns and ammunition are the first in Chicago prosecuted under Operation Legend, officials announced,” per the Sun-Times. “Darryl Collins, 30, of Dolton, is charged with one count of illegal possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Romeo Holloway, 21, is charged with illegal possession of a firearm by felon. And Darryl Phillips 22, is charged with illegal possession of a machine gun, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.”
All three were arrested while officers were on patrol in target neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides.
In addition to providing better coverage in areas where gun violence is spiking, federal agencies also provide officials with the opportunity to charge offenders with federal crimes — something that could help bring an end to a revolving door for Chicago’s gun offenders.
A study by the University of Utah College of Law, published in February, found that Chicago’s “bail reform” initiatives, which allow some low-level offenders (including, surprisingly, gun offenders) to return to the streets as soon as 24 hours after being arrested, have increased crime.
Although Chicago officials — including Cook County’s chief judge — have challenged the study’s findings, federal agents appear to be focusing their efforts on apprehending and charging gun offenders. Early reports form Operation Legend also indicate that federal agents will be assisting Chicago law enforcement with identifying and tracking gang members, so that officials can head off drive-by shootings and reprisals, like the one that took place last week outside of a Chicago funeral home.