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Three men charged with federal gun crimes in Chicago after Trump sends hundreds of federal agents to the city

Written by on July 25, 2020

Prosecutors charged three men in Chicago with federal gun crimes Friday– the first charges under the Justice Department’s new crime initiative in the city.

Hundreds of federal officials poured into Chicago in recent days as part of President Trump’s “Operation Legend,” aimed at tackling violent crime and gun offenses.

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Romeo Holloway, 21, was arrested Tuesday night by federal and local law enforcement officers for illegally possessing a loaded handgun.

Darryl Collins, 30, was arrested Wednesday afternoon by Chicago police for illegally possessing ammunition, which was in a loaded handgun, according to the criminal complaint.

Both men had previously been convicted of felonies for unlawful possession of a firearm or ammunition

Federal and local law enforcement officers also executed a search warrant at the home of Darryl Phillips, 22, of Chicago, early Wednesday morning. Officers discovered a semiautomatic handgun in a bedroom, the complaint said.

A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said the firearm was equipped with an auto-sear device, or “switch,” allowing the gun to fire more than one shot without manually reloading, the complaint states.

Officers from the ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and Drug Enforcement Administration are working alongside local and state police as part of the Trump administration’s plan, the Department of Justice said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot initially resisted the initiative, but later said Trump has her support, as her city struggles to tamp down gun violence.

However, the plan faces skepticism from citizens, especially as the timing coincides with increased scrutiny of other U.S. cities such as Portland, Ore., where federal agents stormed protests to protect federal property. Over a hundred agents are facing an investigation by the Justice Department for their use of aggressive tactics such as pepper spraying and striking unarmed protesters and making questionable arrests

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In this July 21, 2020 file photo, a federal officer pushes back demonstrators at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

In this July 21, 2020 file photo, a federal officer pushes back demonstrators at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

“This is not patrol. This is not against civil unrest,” U.S. Attorney John Lausch said on Wednesday as Trump made an announcement of his plans. “This is working with the Chicago Police Department to do what we can to reduce the staggering violent crime we’re facing right now.”

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Lausch, a former federal prosecutor like the mayor, is a longtime friend of Lightfoot and will be leading the initiative.

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