Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday that the Department of Justice has arrested at least 1,000 people in a handful of major cities following the launch of Operation Legend — a national, anti-crime push named in honor of a young victim of gun violence.
In a press conference, Barr also stated that more than 200 people have been charged with federal crimes, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has seized more than 400 illegal weapons in just under a month of operations, Fox News reports.
Operation Legend, named for 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, “who was shot and killed while he slept in the early morning of June 29 in Kansas City, Mo.,” per Fox, is a $78 million, multi-faceted project designed to assist nine major cities like Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan, in addressing a shocking uptick in gun violence that began in late May and coincided with the end of most coronavirus-related lockdowns.
The DOJ describes the project 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.”
In most cities, including Chicago, the operation is a partnership with local law enforcement and provides the assistance of the ATF, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to police departments experiencing a dramatic uptick in crime.
“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 Wednesday, announcing the arrests. “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.”
The project also snared LeGend’s killer, Barr said.
“We saw one result of those efforts last week when Kansas City police arrested the suspected murderer of LeGend,” he noted. “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.”
The Daily Wire reported the arrest last week.
At least 60 offenders have been charged in Chicago alone, Barr reported, according to the city’s NBC affiliate. Roughly 150 agents have been operating in Chicago since early July, added to the city’s existing crime prevention infrastructure.
“Sixteen [defendants] have been charged with federal charges in Albuquerque, 32 in Cleveland, 22 in Detroit, 11 in Milwaukee, 15 in St. Louis, and 7 in Memphis, Tenn.,” Fox News added.
Most of the charges stem from illegal possession of a firearm and narcotics trafficking, but Barr reported additional arrests related to bank robbery, carjacking, and even human trafficking and illegal immigration.