61 charged in 49 cases since launch of Operation Legend in Chicago

ILLINOIS — U.S. Attorney John Lausch said Wednesday that since the launch of Operation Legend in Chicago, 61 people have been charged in 49 felony cases related to violent crime in the city.

Operation Legend is an initiative that has federal law enforcement agencies work with state and local law enforcement officials to address violent crime. As part of the initiative, the Department of Justice allocated additional investigators and resources to the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations committed additional agents.

Since the operation started in Chicago on July 22, 61 people have been charged in 49 cases wtih federal felony offenses relating to violent crime, according to a news release. Those cases include more than 30 people facing firearms-related charges and more than 25 people facing drug trafficking charges.

“The substantial resources under Operation Legend have assisted our office in prosecuting firearm and drug trafficking offenses, which drive the unacceptable level of violent crime in Chicago,” Lausch said in a statement. “We will continue to use these additional resources to investigate and prosecute trigger-pullers, drug traffickers, carjackers, and those who illegally traffic, use, and possess firearms. Every reasonable strategy to combat violent crime must emphasize the rule of law and holding offenders accountable for the crimes they commit – these are necessary actions designed to ensure public safety.”

The Chicago cases include:

  • A convicted felon who was charged with illegally possessing ammunition that had been loaded in a personally-manufactured firearm, also known as a “ghost gun.” The gun allegedly discharged when Chicago Police officers pursued the person and arrested him.
  • A person charged with a firearm offense after allegedly driving from Chicago to Indiana, buying seven firearms, and bringing the guns back to Chicago with the intent to sell them.
  • convicted felon was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime after ATF agents found him in a hotel room in downtown Chicago with a personally-manufactured gun, ammunition, 38.6 pounds of marijuana and $1,400 in cash.
  • A Chicago resident was charged with illegally possessing a machine gun. The semiautomatic handgun was equipped with an auto-sear device, known as a “switch,” that made it capable of automatically shooting more than one shot without manually reloading.
  • A Chicago man was charged with dealing firearms without a license for allegedly selling three guns, including a rifle, to a confidential source who was cooperating with investigators.

Several other cases involved convicted felons in possession of firearms after ATF agents worked side-by-side with the Chicago Police Department in neighborhoods of the city that have had the highest number of shootings and homicides. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also worked with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine the best place to prosecute the crimes, according to a news release.

Lausch and the Attorney General William Barr spoke at a news conference in Kansas City.

The initiative was named to 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.

In addition to Kansas City and Chicago, Operation Legend has expanded to Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis, according to a news release.

In all of the operation’s cities, police have made more than 1,000 arrests. Of those arrests, about 217 defendants have been charged with federal crimes. In addition, nearly 400 firearms have been seized by ATF. These figures do not include Indianapolis, where the operation was announced on Friday.

The Center Square – Brett Rowland

Brett has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.

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