This week, Attorney General William P. Barr traveled to Chicago, Illinois, and Phoenix, Arizona, to announce updates on Operation Legend and the results of Operation Crystal Shield, respectively.
In Chicago yesterday, Attorney General Barr held a press conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois during which he provided updates on Operation Legend. Joined by ATF Acting Director Regina Lombardo, FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich, U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. for the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio, and U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana, the Attorney General announced that since Operation Legend was launched on July 8, there have been more than 2,000 arrests, with nearly 600 defendants charged in federal courts. He also announced that since launching Operation Legend in Chicago on July 22, the homicide rate has declined significantly. In fact, when comparing the seven weeks prior to the operation’s launch with the five weeks immediately following the launch, homicides in Chicago declined 50%.
As a designated Operation Legend city, the Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $3.5 million in funding to reimburse the Chicago Police Department and City of Chicago for the work of local law enforcement on the federal task forces supporting Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts. The COPS Office has also made $9.375 million available to the Chicago Police Department to fund the hiring of 75 officers.
Immediately following the press conference, Attorney General Barr visited the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) 7th District, where he met with the CPD superintendent, the 7th district commander, and officers. During his time at CPD, the Attorney General received briefings on active cases, as well as on the technologies, such as shot spotters and LPRs, that CPD is utilizing to help them prevent violent crime and enforce the law. The Attorney General then went on a ride-along to the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago with the commander of the 7th district.
Today, the Attorney General and DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea held a press conference at the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division to announce the results of Operation Crystal Shield, a DEA-led initiative targeting the command and control elements of Mexican cartels that operate major methamphetamine “transportation hubs” throughout the United States. Joined by DEA Chief of Operations Chris Evans, DEA Special Agent in Charge Cheri Oz, and U.S. Attorney Michael Bailey, AG Barr and Acting Administrator Shea announced that since Operation Crystal Shield was launched in February 2020, the DEA seized nearly 29,000 pounds of methamphetamine, $43.3 million in drug proceeds, and 284 firearms.
Following the press conference, the Attorney General, Acting Administrator Shea, SAC Oz, and U.S. Attorney Bailey met with police chiefs, sheriffs, and officers from around the state of Arizona to get an on-the-ground sense of what local law enforcement is experiencing with regards to violent crime, drug trafficking, officer wellness, and other important issues facing law enforcement.
After meeting with local law enforcement, the Attorney General attended a working lunch with the leaders of federal law enforcement in Arizona – the ATF, DEA, leaders from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, FBI, United States Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection Tucson Sector Border Patrol, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the IRS.
The Attorney General completed his day at the DEA Phoenix Field Division with a briefing on the DEA’s clandestine lab cleanup capabilities.