DOJ: Operation Legend yields 94 violent crime arrests in Indy

Almost 100 individuals accused of violent crime in Indianapolis have been arrested and charged through a federal program designed to decrease violence across major U.S. cities, the Department of Justice has announced.

The program known as Operation Legend has resulted in 94 arrests since it was launched in Indianapolis in August, according to a DOJ news release. Former United States Attorney General William Barr, whose administration implemented Operation Legend, announced the end-of-year results Dec. 23, the same day Barr stepped down from his post as head of the Justice Department.

The DOJ launched Operation Legend in Indianapolis on Aug. 14, making the Circle City the ninth of nine U.S. metro areas to receive federal resources dedicated specifically to curbing violent crime. Other participating cities include Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit; Milwaukee; St. Louis; and Memphis, Tennessee.

“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,” Barr said in a news release. “By most standards, many would consider these results as a resounding success — amid a global pandemic, the results are extraordinary.”

Barr came to Indianapolis in October to discuss Operation Legend and other law enforcement issues with then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler, who has since resigned from public service and is now practicing law at Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Other law enforcement officials, including Indianapolis Police Chief Randal Taylor, also attended the October meeting.

At the time of the Oct. 22 meeting, federal marshals had arrested 88 fugitives in Indianapolis through Operation Legend, confiscating 216 crimes guns, 1,731 grams of heroin, 27,644 grams of methamphetamine and 1,211 grams of fentanyl.

By Dec. 23, 94 defendants had been charged, including 18 for narcotics-related offenses, 64 for firearms-related offenses and 12 for other violent crimes.

“I commend our federal law enforcement and prosecutors for seamlessly executing this operation in partnership with state and local law enforcement,” Barr said Dec. 23. “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.”

During the October meeting, both Barr and Minkler acknowledged the streets of Indianapolis are not as safe as they could or should be. But with the resources of Operation Legend, Minkler insisted, “our streets are safer.”

In November, the Justice Department announced that agencies across the Indiana Southern District had been awarded roughly $5.63 million in grant funding to fight and prevent violent crime. Of those funds, $250,000 was dedicated to the work of Operation Legend in Indianapolis.

A total of $8.9 million had been allocated to Operation Legend as of Oct. 30, the DOJ announced in November.

The full Operation Legend end-of-year report is available online.

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