CLEVELAND — In the three weeks since Operation Legend has been officially operating in Cleveland, nearly three dozen individuals have been arrested on federal charges for crimes committed in the city.
“In just a few short weeks, federal investigators working side-by-side with state and local law enforcement have begun to make significant progress towards reducing violence related to illegal firearms, drug trafficking and other crime in our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman.
According to authorities, 32 people have been charged with federal crimes. Of that number, 22 individuals are facing drug trafficking charges. Nine people are charged with firearms violations. One person has been charged with carjacking.
“These early results show the potential that Operation Legend has to make our cities and communities a safer place for everyone to live,” Herdman said.
What is now Operation Legend has been in the planning stages since 2019 when the U.S. Department of Justice announced Cleveland was one of seven cities taking part in “Operation Relentless Pursuit.”
In 2019, Cleveland was one of seven cities to take part in “Operation Relentless Pursuit,” an effort targeted at getting violent fugitives off the streets. The first part of this operation wrapped up in March, with the other phases of this on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Operation Legend was effectively a renaming of Operation Relentless Pursuit.
Operation Legend got its name after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro who was shot and killed on June 29 in Kansas City as he lay asleep in his bed at home.
Less than two weeks following the boy’s death, Attorney General Bill Barr announced the creation of Operation Legend. Following that, more than 200 federal law enforcement agents were sent to Kansas City to help “curb the kind of senseless violence that took the young boy’s life,” according to The White House.
President Donald Trump later announced the expansion of the operation to additional cities.
“My first duty as President is to protect the American people, and today I am taking action to fulfill that sacred obligation,” Trump said.
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