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Press Release

Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announce update on Operation Legend during press conference

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio
66 defendants charged with federal crimes under Operation Legend in Cleveland

At a press conference in Chicago today, Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced updates on Operation Legend.

Since the operation’s launch, there have been more than 2,000 arrests in Legend cities, including defendants who have been charged in state and local courts. Of those arrests, approximately 592 defendants have been charged with federal crimes. In addition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has seized 587 firearms, more than 1.2 kilos of heroin, and more than five kilos of methamphetamine; the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has seized almost 70 kilos of methamphetamine, more than 16 kilos of heroin, more than 7 kilos of fentanyl, more than 12 kilos of cocaine, 268 firearms, and approximately $5.19 million in drug proceeds; the FBI has recovered 241 weapons; and the United States Marshals Service has recovered 169 firearms and made 1810 arrests, including 163 for homicide and 120 for sexual assault.

In Cleveland, 66 defendants have been charged with federal crimes, including 41 defendants charged with narcotics-related offenses, 22 charged with firearms-related offenses and 3 with other violent crimes. U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman released the following statement:

“We have made significant progress in Cleveland since the launch of Operation Legend. This progress includes arresting and charging drug traffickers, removing illegal firearms off our streets and putting repeat violent crime offenders behind bars. Additionally, thanks to a strong law enforcement partnership, police were able to arrest an individual suspected in the homicide of Eric Hakizamana. This investigation was the focus of law enforcement in Cleveland when Operation Legend was announced on July 29th.

The success we have had in this initiative is thanks, in large part, to law enforcement officers like Detective James Skernivitz, who was killed in the line of duty. Detective Skernivitz was a sworn Operation Legend task force officer assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Crimes Task Force. The work he and his unit have done to help reduce violent crime in our community is invaluable and will have long-lasting effects. Operation Legend will not be the same without Detective Skernivitz, but the good work he has done will live on."

The Attorney General launched Operation Legend on July 8, 2020, as a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. The initiative is named in 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. 

Launched in Kansas City, MO. on July 8, 2020, the operation expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque on July 22, 2020; to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee on July 29, 2020; to St. Louis and Memphis on August 6, 2020; and to Indianapolis on August 14, 2020. A breakdown of the federal charges in each district can be found here.


Updated September 9, 2020

Operation Legend