Federal Operation to Remove Violent Criminals in Memphis Deemed Success


The U.S. Justice Department has announced the results of Operation LeGend, which first launched in Missouri and then expanded to several cities, including Memphis.

“Operation Legend removed violent criminals, domestic abusers, carjackers and drug traffickers from nine cities that were experiencing stubbornly high crime and took illegal firearms, illegal narcotics and illicit monies off the streets,” said former Attorney General William Barr, in a press release that the U.S. Justice Department released Wednesday.

“By most standards, many would consider these results as a resounding success—amid a global pandemic, the results are extraordinary. I commend our federal law enforcement and prosecutors for seamlessly executing this operation in partnership with state and local law enforcement.”

Since the official launch of Operation LeGend in Memphis in August, authorities have arrested a total of 266 people and charged 124 defendants with federal offenses. Authorities charged exactly 53 people with drug crimes, 46 people with gun crimes, and 24 people with other violent crimes such as carjacking, business robbery, and using a firearm during a crime of violence, the press release said.

Federal agencies and federal task forces seized a total of 210 firearms and $670,270 in criminal proceeds, according to the press release.

The following local agencies in Memphis, the press release said, received federal grant funding from the Department of Justice in support of Operation Legend and related efforts:

• City of Memphis Police Department – $9,823,624 (COPS Hiring Program funds, to hire 50 new officers)

• Shelby County Sheriff’s Office – $1,628,571 (Operation Relentless Pursuit/Operation LeGend)

• Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office – $398,864 (Project Guardian)

As The Tennessee Star reported in October, as part of Operation LeGend, federal law enforcement agencies work with local and state law enforcement officials to fight violent crime.

The initiative launched in Kansas City in July. Federal officials named it in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro. Someone shot and killed him as he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. The operation subsequently expanded to other cities, the press release said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]






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