Operation Legend, a federal initiative to reduce gun violence in Indianapolis, has been extended beyond its planned 45-day duration.
The operation was announced Aug. 14 as an accelerated collaboration between local police and federal agents to tackle gun violence, drug trafficking and gang activity. Operation Legend was first deployed in Kansas City in response to increased violence and has since gone to cities such as Indianapolis, Chicago, Cleveland and Memphis.
Wednesday marked the 45th day of the operation, but on Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler told IndyStar it would be extended indefinitely.
Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
Minkler noted the surge of federal resources is not sustainable long term, but that the results so far pushed him to extend the operation for as long as feasible.
“I’m asking them to stay as long as they can, because the results have been so encouraging,” Minkler said. “If I could, I’d have it continue forever.”
More: Operation Legend: What critics and supporters say
Minkler previously told IndyStar there are 57 federal agents dedicated to Operation Legend in Indianapolis. That includes agents who were already working in Marion County and around 17 agents who were brought in from other areas. There are also local police officers on existing federal task forces helping with the operation.
Spokespeople for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Department said Operation Legend helps complement community-based efforts.
“IMPD remains focused on building partnerships with community-based groups to prevent crime while also holding accountable the small number of people responsible for a large portion of violence in our neighborhoods,” IMPD spokesperson Aliya Wishner said in a statement.
Operation Legend results in 45 days
When Operation Legend was announced, local leaders cited a record number of homicides. At the time, Indianapolis was experiencing a 51% increase in homicides and a more than 34% increase in non-fatal shootings. As of Thursday, there have been 145 criminal homicides in 2020, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Officials said the surge of federal money, manpower and intelligence was meant to tackle gun violence, drug trafficking and gang activity.
To date, 57 people have been charged across 48 federal cases in Operation Legend in Indianapolis. Minkler said the following contraband has been seized: 176 guns, more than 1,500 grams of heroin, nearly 22,500 grams of methamphetamine and 1,211 grams of fentanyl.
Minkler said he was “shocked” by the amount of fentanyl, a substance deadlier than heroin, that has been seized.
“It’s unknown how that contributes to gun violence,” Minkler said. “But I can tell you that that drug when used does lead to a lot of overdoses, which also can be fatal.”
Additionally, US Marshals have served warrants for 10 homicides in Marion County. That number includes warrants issued by