Feds: Operation LeGend Yielded Most Arrests in Memphis

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Operation LeGend, the controversial federal surge of money and agents sent to Memphis to combat violent crime, ended recently and yielded more arrests here than any of the seven other cities where it was deployed.

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced the results of the operation that began here on August 6th. Then, it was announced that 40 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and Homeland Security Investigations Unit would be deployed in the 
Attorney General Barr
  • Attorney General Barr
city, and 26 of them would remain in Memphis for the foreseeable future.

The federal investigators were to work with ongoing investigations through the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, the goal of which is to combat violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations.

Operation LeGend was launched in Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis; and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Here are some stats on the operation in Memphis, shared by Barr's office Tuesday:

• 266 arrests



• 124 charged with federal offenses

• 53 for drug crimes



• 46 for gun crimes

• 24 for violent crimes like carjacking, business robbery, and using a firearm during a violent crime
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• 210 firearms were seized

• $670,270 in criminal proceeds were seized

Here's a list of the drugs that were seized:

• 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

Here's a list of the grants brought here by Operation LeGend:

• 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
  • U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said the efforts have "undoubtedly saved lives."

"Although this marks the end of the formal [Department of Justice] 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," Dunavant said. "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."

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