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Operation Legend: Case of the Day

Missouri: St. Louis Man Charged with Federal Firearm and Drug Offenses

Each weekday, the Department of Justice will highlight a case that has resulted from Operation Legend.  Today’s case is out of the Eastern District of Missouri.  Operation Legend launched in St. Louis on Aug. 6, 2020, in response to the city facing increased homicide and non-fatal shooting rates.

United States vs. Andrew Sheperd

On Aug. 27, 2020, Andrew Sheperd was charged by a federal grand jury with being a felon in possession of a firearm, with being in possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine .

“This arrest spotlights the hard work and dedicated partnership between the men and women of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and other federal agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Jensen of the Eastern District of Missouri.  “We share the mission of taking violent criminals off the streets and enhancing community-wide efforts to make St. Louis a safer place for all Missourians.”

According to the charging documents, on Aug. 21, 2020, law enforcement officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) and Homeland Security Investigations encountered a 300 series BMW with an illegally tinted front windshield.  As they investigated the vehicle, they discovered that the plate affixed to the BMW was registered to a Chevrolet.  The officers then attempted to perform a traffic stop of the BMW, and, at first, the BMW appeared to be complying and pulling over, but then sped away at a high rate of speed.  The BMW then crashed, and the driver, later identified as Sheperd, allegedly fled the scene of the wrecked vehicle on foot.  The SLMPD officer pursued Sheperd and detained him a short distance away from where the vehicle crashed.

In the BMW, officers found a loaded .45 caliber Glock semiautomatic firearm on the driver’s floorboard of the vehicle.  Additionally, officers found multiple baggies of white powder and dozens of capsules.

Because of a prior conviction punishable by more than one year in prison, Sheperd is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

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

Background on Operation Legend

Since its inception, Operation Legend has yielded more than 3,500 local, state, and federal arrests, with more than 800 defendants charged with federal crimes.

President Trump promised to assist America’s cities that have been plagued by violence.  In July, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the launch of Operation Legend, a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative across all federal law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime in cities across America that were experiencing an uptick in violence.  Operation Legend is named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed on June 29th in Kansas City, Missouri, while asleep in his home.

Operation Legend was launched in Kansas City, Mo., on July 8, 2020, and expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque on July 22, 2020; to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee on July 29, 2020; to St. Louis and Memphis on Aug. 6, 2020; and to Indianapolis on Aug. 14, 2020.  As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr has directed federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA and ATF to surge resources to these cities to help state and local officials fighting violent crime.  The Department of Homeland Security is also contributing agents to these efforts in St. Louis.