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Press Release

Operation Legend: Case of the Day

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Ohio: Cleveland Man Charged with Dealing Heroin; Being Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Each weekday, the Department of Justice will highlight a case that has resulted from Operation Legend.  Today’s case is out of the Northern District of Ohio.  Operation Legend launched in Cleveland on July 29, 2020, in response to the city facing increased homicide and non-fatal shooting rates.

United States vs. Richard Woodard

“This defendant is alleged to have been associated with a heroin overdose, is accused of drug trafficking and was found in possession of multiple, loaded firearms at his home, often in the presence of a child,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio.  “This case is a great example of what Operation Legend was designed to do – identify those illegally in possession of a firearm, drugs, or otherwise committing acts of violence and get them out of our communities to protect innocent lives.”

Richard Woodard, 41, of Cleveland, Ohio, was charged on Aug. 7, 2020, with drug distribution and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to the criminal complaint, an FBI-led investigation into a heroin overdose death in the city of Cleveland led law enforcement to Woodard.  On Aug. 7, 2020, agents conducted surveillance of Woodard and observed him complete a heroin transaction.  Later that day, law enforcement arrested Woodard in a parking lot in Cleveland for the earlier transaction.  During a subsequent search warrant execution at Woodard’s apartment, law enforcement seized 60 grams of heroin, four firearms (three of which were loaded and in plain view), approximately $12,000, several boxes of ammunition, and multiple items commonly used to process and package illegal narcotics.

Because of a previous felony conviction punishable by more than one year in prison, Woodard is prohibited from possessing firearms.

The details contained in the charging document are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Background on Operation Legend
President Trump promised to assist America’s cities that have been plagued by violence.  In July, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the launch of Operation Legend, a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative across all federal law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime in cities across America that were experiencing an uptick in violence.  Operation Legend is named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed on June 29th in Kansas City, Missouri, while asleep in his home.

Operation Legend was launched in Kansas City, Mo., on July 8, 2020, and expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque on July 22, 2020, to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee on July 29, 2020, to St. Louis and Memphis on Aug. 6, 2020, and to Indianapolis on Aug. 14, 2020.  As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr has directed federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA and ATF to surge resources into these cities to help state and local officials fight violent crime.  Since its inception, Operation Legend has yielded more than 2000 local, state, and federal arrests, with 476 defendants charged with federal crimes.

Updated September 3, 2020

Operation Legend
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 20-875