On July 22, Donald Trump called for a â€œsurge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime.â€ Seeking to exploit crime-drama distractions prior to the presidential election, U.S. Attorney General William J Barr sent thirty-five federal special agents to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to solve homicides and to arrest members of violent street gangs. Operation Legend, as itâ€™s called, is turning out to be a legendary joke. Mr Barrâ€™s secret agents look for drugs and guns instead of murderers and gang members.
â€¦federal agents are posing undercover as drug users and soliciting drugs and guns from people on the street in order to induce the commission of felony crimes. As one source told us, federal agents are â€œjust running right up to you asking for drugs and guns. Anybody they see moving around here with bags, theyâ€™re profiling. And I donâ€™t know why they figure they can get to the drugs and guns off the homeless.â€ [â€¦]
Barr described Operation Legend as â€œan initiative to combat rising violent crime in a number of our cities,â€ but the people we talked to on the street describe it as an aggressive, at times clumsy, entrapment operation by agents unfamiliar with Albuquerque and unable to keep their cover. This â€œkid comes up to us,â€ one person told us â€œand says heâ€™s dope sick and starts asking for drugs, but like asking for all the drugs. What is that? No one asks for heroin and cocaine. And he had a bike and so we knew he was a Fed when he said he wouldnâ€™t give it up. What junkie doesnâ€™t give up a bike?â€
Another person told us that when agents first arrived, they were approaching people near Albuquerqueâ€™s downtown and were â€œasking for crystal.â€ This tipped people off because â€œwe donâ€™t use the word crystal,â€ they told us. â€œTheyâ€™ll ask for black. Now theyâ€™re asking for shards and dark, and theyâ€™re asking for pistols.â€ All of them â€œare asking for heroinâ€ but they donâ€™t act like heroin addicts. Theyâ€™re â€œalive, awake, sitting in areas for four to six hours. Four to six hours,â€ our source repeated. â€œAn addict doesnâ€™t act that way.â€ [â€¦]
The mayor of Albuquerque, Tim Keller, called the agents â€œTrumpâ€™s secret police,â€ and said heâ€™d not been briefed on Operation Legend, which Mayor Keller says he vigilantly opposes. In fact, the Albuquerque city police had already been coordinating with AG Barrâ€™s federal agents six days earlier.