Operation Legend: 26 charged in violent drug trafficking ring

U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Matthew Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced charges against 26 defendants who allegedly operated a violent drug trafficking organization in Milwaukee.

Law enforcement resources allocated by Operation Legend contributed to the investigation and the enforcement operation. 

U.S. Attorney General William Barr

U.S. Attorney General William Barr

Officials say since Operation Legend’s launch in July 2020, more than 3,500 arrests – including approximately 200 for homicide – have been made; more than 1,000 firearms have been seized; and nearly 19 kilos of heroin, more than 11 kilos of fentanyl (enough to deliver more than five million fatal doses), more than 94 kilos of methamphetamine, nearly 14 kilos of cocaine, and more than $6.5 million in drug proceeds have been seized.

Of the more than 3,500 individuals arrested, approximately 815 have been charged with federal offenses. More than 440 of those defendants have been charged with firearms offenses, while more than 300 have been charged with drug-related crimes. The remaining defendants have been charged with various offenses.

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On Tuesday, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 21 of the 26 defendants charged by criminal complaint with offenses related to a violent drug-trafficking organization that obtained multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana from California for distribution in the Milwaukee area.

Weapons confiscated as part of Operation Legend

Weapons confiscated as part of Operation Legend

The officers also executed search warrants in both Milwaukee and California, resulting in the seizure of approximately 33 firearms, $170,000, and over 700 grams of heroin from one location, as well as additional heroin, cocaine, and marijuana from other locations.

"It took a multi-agency operation which occurred this morning in Milwaukee, and in the Northern, and Central, districts of California. It involved the execution of over 24 search warrants, over 120 law enforcement officers from over 16 different agencies participated in the operation," Krueger said.

Matthew Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Matthew Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Included among the defendants is Louis Perez III, also known as “Eight Ball,” who is alleged to be a Mexican Posse gang member and the current leader of the nationwide drug trafficking organization. Several other Mexican Posse gang members have also been charged and arrested.

Weapons confiscated as part of Operation Legend

Weapons confiscated as part of Operation Legend

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Officials say drugs are a key factor when it comes to violent crime. They also say funding is essential to resolving the problem. 

In the end, all parties agree, a lot more work remains ahead. 

"Here we've seen a 27% drop in non-fatal shootings since the launch of 'Operation Legend.' And while we're pleased with that, there is still a lot of work to be done because unfortunately, we haven't seen a corresponding drop yet in homicides -- which is on pace to double last year's totals," Barr said.

Op. Legend: Breakdown of the federal charges in each district

Milwaukee, WI

  • 47 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.
  • 24 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 19 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 4 defendant has been charged with other violent crimes.

Kansas City, MO

  • 147 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.
  • 54 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 80 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 13 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Chicago, IL

  • 150 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.
  • 37 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 108 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 5 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Albuquerque, NM

  • 60 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.
  • 23 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 30 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 7 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Cleveland, OH

  • 72 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.
  • 42 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 26 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 4 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Detroit, MI

  • 65 defendants have been charged with federal offenses outlined below. 
  • 16 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 46 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 3 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

St. Louis, MO

  • 205 defendants have been charged with federal crimes.
  • 93 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 90 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 22 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.
  • 27 defendants have been charged with federal offenses.
  • 10 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 13 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 4 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Indianapolis, IN

  • 45 defendants have been charged with federal crimes outlined below.
  • 7 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses;
  • 33 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses; and
  • 5 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Operation Legend results in drug, gun charges against Milwaukee man

A federal grand jury indictment has been issued against Jeffrey Jones of Milwaukee, officials announced.

Officials, Milwaukee residents meet, discuss Operation Legend

Although homicide cases remain high, one U.S. attorney believes Operation Legend -- with community support -- will pay off in reducing violent crime.