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Tag: St. Louis

Operation Legend Nets 3,500+ Arrests in Nine Cities Since It Launched in July

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 3,500 people have been arrested across nine cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative launched by the Justice Department in July, Attorney General William Barr announced Tuesday.

Since the operation began on July 8, federal authorities and their local partners have arrested about 200 murder suspects and seized roughly 1,000 firearms, 19 kilos of heroin, 11 kilos of fentanyl, 94 kilos of methamphetamine, 14 kilos of cocaine, and $6.5 million in drug money, Barr said at a news conference in Milwaukee.

Of those arrested, about 815 have been charged with federal offenses, 440 with firearms offenses, and 300 with drug-related crimes.

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in nine cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, Kansas City and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

To see a breakdown by city, click here.

‘Operation Legend’ Leads to Nearly 1,500 Arrests in 8 U.S. Cities, Barr Announces

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 1,500 people have been arrested across eight cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative recently launched by the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday.

Since the operation began on July 8, about 217 of those arrests involved federal crimes, most of them drug- and gun-related. ATF agents also seized nearly 400 firearms, Barr said.

“In just a few short weeks, federal investigators working side-by-side with state and local law enforcement have begun to make significant progress towards reducing violence related to illegal firearms, drug trafficking and other crime in our neighborhoods,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a news release. “In Cleveland, Operation Legend’s law enforcement operations have already resulted in 32 defendants charged federally with various drug trafficking and firearms violations. These early results show the potential that Operation Legend has to make our cities and communities a safer place for everyone to live.”

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in eight cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

Click here for a breakdown of arrests by city.

Federal Agents Deployed to St. Louis And Memphis As Part of Expanded ‘Operation Legend’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

“Operation Legend,” a violent crime-busting initiative involving federal agents, has expanded to St.Louis and Memphis, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Those cities will join Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, where ATF, DEA and FBI agents and analysts have been  deployed over the past month. The U.S. Marshals Service also is lending a hand.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said federal agents will work with state and local law enforcement “to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off the street.”

The agents are not expected to monitor protests like federal officers have in Portland. The Trump administration has been criticized for using federal officers to clash with protesters, which local and state officials, along with Democrats in Congress, have said resulted in escalated tensions.

Violent crime is on the rise in many big cities across the U.S.

The initiative is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in his sleep in Kansas City in June.

Former DEA Special Agent Found Dead in Jail After Domestic Violence Arrest

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s St. Louis division has been found dead in jail a day after he was arrested on allegations of domestic violence.

Larry “Jay” Reavis, 51, was shaking in a cell in the St. Louis County Jail about 8:30 a.m. Friday. A little more than an hour later, he was pronounced dead, St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Sources said Reavis may have been experiencing alcohol withdrawal and that there were no signs of trauma or a suicide.

Police were called to the jail for a medical call at 9:41 a.m. Friday.

Jail officials declined further comment and are expected to provide more details this week.

FBI Appoints New Special Agent in Charge of St. Louis Division

St. Louis Field Office, via FBI

St. Louis Field Office, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Richard Quinn, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will become the new special agent in charge of the bureau’s St. Louis division in mid-November.

The FBI announced Tuesday that Quinn will replace former Special Agent in Charge William Woods, who retired in September.

Former Special Agent in Charge William Woods

Former Special Agent in Charge William Woods

Quinn, who most recently served as the chief of the Media and Investigative Publicity Section in the Office of Public Affairs, began his career as a special agent in 1997. His first assignment was at the New York Field Office, where he investigated terrorism and foreign counterintelligence as a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Quinn also held leadership positions in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters and in the Chicago and Philadelphia Field Offices.

DEA Survivor Benefit Fund Helps Son of Deceased Task Force Cop Become St. Louis County Officer

sbf-dea-badge-web

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In November 1993, St. Louis Police officer Stephen Strehl, 35, was killed in a helicopter crash during a training operation in Jefferson County with the DEA. He was a passenger and a member of the DEA task force.

On Dec. 13, Strehl’s son Joseph Strehl graduated from the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy at the Maritz Center in Fenton, Missouri, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was two at the time of his father’s death.

In the audience was his mother and almost  two dozen DEA agents, known as Group 32. Some of the agents knew the elder Strehl and others “only knew the stories of Steve Strehl,”  DEA analyst Tony Wagner, who once supervised Strehl as the lieutenant of the city’s narcotics division, tells the newspaper.

Part of the story is also that the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund ended up helping Joseph Strehl pay for his education after his father’s passing.

In 2014, Joseph wrote:

My dad was a police officer for the city of St. Louis when he was killed in the line of duty while attached to a DEA task force back in 1993. His death happened 6 days before my third birthday and having grown up without a father early on in my life was especially hard on me seeing friends spending time with their dads and having them come to school events like field trips and sporting events. It wasn’t until 9 years later when my mom remarried and my brothers had a father figure in our lives.

When it came time to start applying for colleges in high school, I began to wonder how I would pay for my education like most of my friends. I had asked my parents what I had to do so I could attend a university in the state when my mom told me that I wouldn’t deal with financial aid. She then showed me the DEA’s Survivors Benefit Fund and what the organization does along with explaining to me that my education was covered due to the fact that my dad had been a task force officer.

I am very grateful to the Survivor’s Benefit Fund for making it possible for me, as a student, not to have to worry about how I will pay for my education. With my tuition and book costs covered by the SBF, I can concentrate solely on my classes and earning good grades along with not having to worry about loans or other debt when I graduate from college.

I miss my dad every day and I know that there isn’t anything in the world that can bring him back but with the Survivor’s Benefit Fund we can always remember that there are good people willing to help out families like mine when they lose a loved one. As a junior attending Missouri State University studying Criminology hoping to someday make it to grad school, I wanted to thank everyone at the SBF and supporters for giving me the opportunity to advance my education and future endeavors.

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Residents Endangered by Botched ATF Sting

atf badgeBy Editorial Board
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A fake tattoo parlor in St. Louis set up down the street from the Boys and Girls Club, and use of a confidential informer with a troubled criminal history, help explain how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives placed some of the city’s most vulnerable residents at risk — and seriously undermined its own integrity in the process.

St. Louis was part of the ATF’s Operation Hustle City, in which agents and police set up the Ink Pimp tattoo parlor at 2806 North Grand Boulevard in January 2013. Agents posed as outlaw bikers looking to buy guns to ship to California or Mexico, and serve as drug cash couriers.

All this occurred in the same area where hundreds of kids regularly attended classes and events on a campus that promised a safe environment. What were ATF agents and their bosses thinking? This appalling example of disregard deals another blow to citizen confidence in law enforcement at a time when federal agencies should be helping to restore public trust.

The Justice Department released a highly critical report last week of undercover ATF storefront operations aimed at getting illegal guns and drugs off the streets in St. Louis and four other cities. The report criticized the operations for inadequate oversight, accountability, training and planning, but did not recommend ending them.

The report said ATF should consolidate its expertise in running storefront operations and not proceed with such stings until agency directors agree they are properly designed and executed.

An agency that has existed in one form or another since 1886 shouldn’t need to be told to properly design and execute operations, especially ones that endanger the very lives of citizens they are supposed to protect. Having issued new directives to the ATF, the Justice Department will need to monitor for implementation.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI-Assembled ‘Hybrid Task Force’ to Tackle Violent Crime in St. Louis

st. louis mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

This isn’t your normal task force.

In fact, the FBI is calling it the Hybrid Task Force, and its goal is to pursue drug dealers and violent criminals, KMOX reports. 

“The task force has two focuses,” St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said. “One is an interdiction piece that long term investigation to try and interrupt some of the drugs that are coming to town. And the other is a more rapid response to violence.”

Dotson credited the FBI for assembling the resources to make the team possible.

The members come from an impressive array of agencies – FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Attorney’s Office and several local prosecutors.

The task force all be formally introduced on July 20.