DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant Announce Final Results of Operation Legend

Memphis, TN – On December 23, 2020, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the results of Operation LeGend, which was first launched in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 8, 2020, and then expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, on July 22, 2020; to Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 29, 2020; to St. Louis, Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee, on August 6, 2020; and to Indianapolis, Indiana, on August 14, 2020.

"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. 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," 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."

Since Operation LeGend’s launch on July 8, 2020, over 6,000 arrests – including approximately 467 for homicide – were made; more than 2600 firearms were seized; and more than 32 kilos of heroin, more than 17 kilos of fentanyl, more than 300 kilos of methamphetamine, more than 135 kilos of cocaine, and more than $11 million in drug and other illicit proceeds were seized.

Of the more than 6,000 individuals arrested, approximately 1,500 have been charged with federal offenses. Approximately 815 of those defendants have been charged with firearms offenses, while approximately 566 have been charged with drug-related crimes. The remaining defendants have been charged with various offenses.

The Attorney General launched the operation 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. Operation LeGend is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) provided a total of $60 million to fund 290 officers as part of Operation LeGend and related efforts. Additionally, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) awarded nearly $9 million in grant funding to support Operation LeGend.

Since the official launch of Operation LeGend here in Memphis on August 6, 2020, a total of 266 arrests were made, and 124 defendants were charged with federal offenses: 53 for drug crimes; 46 for gun crimes; and 24 for other violent crimes such as carjacking, business robbery, and using a firearm during a crime of violence. A total of 210 firearms were seized by federal agencies and federal task forces; $670,270 in criminal proceeds were seized; and a large quantity of illegal drugs were removed from our streets, as follows:

31,063 grams of methamphetamine

1,572 grams of cocaine

4,665 grams of fentanyl

5,021 grams of heroin

9,205 grams of marijuana

2,822 pills of various controlled substances, primarily opioids

The following local agencies in Memphis 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)

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "These are outstanding national and local results that have undoubtedly saved lives. Although this marks the end of the formal DOJ Operation LeGend initiative, we will continue our targeted enforcement actions and coordination in the future with the federal agents permanently reassigned to Memphis, as well as our LeGend Task Force model. Despite rising violent crime rates in 2020, as a result of Operation LeGend, drug traffickers, trigger-pullers, gang members, and violent offenders are going to prison, law enforcement is energized, and the public is better protected. I am proud of our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in Memphis for their urgent and relentless efforts in this Operation, and I am grateful for their active participation and sustained partnerships during a most unusual and challenging time in our nation’s history."

Breakdown of Operation Legend charges in other cities:

Kansas City, MO.

  • 196 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.
  • 75 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 107 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 14 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Chicago, Ill.

176 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.

  • 40 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 130 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • Six defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Albuquerque, NM.

167 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.

  • 60 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 85 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 22 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Cleveland, OH.

119 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.

  • 60 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 55 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • Four defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Detroit, MI.

100 defendants have been charged with federal offenses outlined below.

  • 33 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 64 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • Three defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Milwaukee, WI.

74 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.

  • 34 defendants have been charged with firearm related offenses;
  • 32 defendants have been charged with narcotic related offenses;
  • Eight defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

St. Louis, MO.

450 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.

  • 193 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 231 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 26 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Indianapolis, IN.

94 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.

  • 18 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 64 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 12 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

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Nashville Field Division