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Press Release

214 Arrested As Part of a Combined Law Enforcement Operation “Bluff City Blues” in West Tennessee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant and U.S. Marshal Jeffrey Holt announced today that a two-week-long joint federal, state and local law enforcement initiative has resulted in the arrests of 214 individuals in West Tennessee. These individuals were arrested on a variety of criminal charges, including homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, carjacking, arson, drug distribution, illegal gun crimes and failure to register as sex offenders. Operation "Bluff City Blues" was a coordinated violence reduction initiative led by the U.S. Marshals Service that brought together federal, state and local law enforcement partners in an effort to reduce crime in West Tennessee by identifying and arresting violent fugitives, targeting violent gang activity, and collecting intelligence to allow for the systematic removal of individuals who have been charged with committing violent crimes in West Tennessee.

In addition to the arrests, Operation "Bluff City Blues" resulted in the seizure of 28 firearms, approximately 771.9 grams of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crack, $17,240 in U.S. currency, as well as the recovery of 4 stolen vehicles.

Operation "Bluff City Blues" commenced on August 12, 2019, and concluded on August 23, 2019. As a part of the coordinated and targeted initiative, those arrested for outstanding state and federal warrants included a total of 79 identified gang members, 65 individuals for aggravated assault, 34 individuals for homicide, 69 individuals for weapons offenses, and 40 individuals for drug offenses. In addition, a total of 78 registered sex offenders living in Madison and Shelby Counties were checked for compliance with sex offender registration requirements. Thirteen were found to be in violation.

During the two-week operation, law enforcement efforts took place primarily in the cities of Memphis and Jackson, TN, and focused on fugitive apprehension investigations, firearms and narcotics investigations, gang-related intelligence gathering, and proactive sex offender compliance. All of these cases will be prosecuted in either state or federal court, and it is expected that many of the arrests and investigations in this operation will result in future additional arrests in the pursuit of dismantling the criminal element in the Western District of Tennessee.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Because the U.S. Marshals Service is the preeminent federal law enforcement agency for fugitive investigations and apprehensions, I called upon them to plan and execute this violence reduction operation in West Tennessee. Together with our other dedicated federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, the USMS has successfully located and arrested some of the most dangerous fugitives and violent gang members that are the primary crime-drivers in our communities. Operation ‘Bluff City Blues’ sends two very important and powerful messages: 1. The citizens of West Tennessee can be assured that their safety and security is our highest priority, and that we can and will do something about crime in their communities, and 2. Violent criminals and gang members can be assured that we will use our highest and best resources to remove them from our streets and impose consequences for their criminal conduct. I thank and commend the outstanding work and tireless efforts of all of our law enforcement partners, and I am confident that this operation will have both an immediate and a long-term positive effect on public safety in West Tennessee."

U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee Jeff Holt thanks all the federal, state and local agencies that participated in this operation. "The excellent cooperation and hard work of all these law enforcement officers over this two week period is a prime example of agencies working hand-in-hand to make a difference in our communities. I am very proud of the men and women who put in long hard hours to make this a highly successful operation. Many of these investigations have led to other arrests and investigations that will further dismantle the criminal structure in the Western District of Tennessee."

Deputy Commander Mike Quarles of the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force praised the efforts of all of the participating agencies that made this operation a success. Quarles stated, "Since 1789, the U.S. Marshals Service has been forming posses and task forces to apprehend the most violent of all fugitives. Our historical foundation was built upon the investigatory knowledge of skilled fugitive hunters. The successes of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force are directly related to our partnerships." Quarles further commented, "Without these agencies coming together as a force multiplier, many of these violent criminals would still be walking our streets. It was exciting to see this many agencies efficiently and effectively come together for the singular mission of making West Tennessee safer. I am confident that a strong message was sent, that violent crime is not welcomed in the Western District of Tennessee."

The following agencies participated in Operation "Bluff City Blues":

United States Marshals Service

United States Attorney’s Office

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

United States Probation Service

District Attorney General’s Office (Shelby County)

District Attorney General’s Office (Madison County)

Memphis Police Department

Jackson Police Department

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office

Madison County Sheriff’s Office

Tennessee Department of Correction

Tennessee Highway Patrol (Jackson Office)

Tennessee Highway Patrol (Memphis Office)

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at

For operational still photos, please visit:

For B Roll operational footage, please visit:


Cherri Green
Public Affairs
(901) 544-4231

Updated August 26, 2019