GENERIC: police, crime scene tape

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Federal officials say a Kansas City, Kansas, man was the first person arrested under a new Department of Justice initiative designed to address growing levels of violent crime in the metro.

In a release issued Monday, officials said 20-year-old Monty W. Ray has been charged with being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms. Ray remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

The new DOJ effort, Operation: LeGend, was designed to put federal “boots of the ground” to assist local law enforcement agencies with the spike in crime. U.S. Marshals assisted the Independence Police Department on this investigation.

Court documents say that officers say Ray driving in a vehicle that had be reported stolen from the area of 107th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard on Friday. The officers stopped Ray, who had multiple active warrants out for his arrest. He attempted to flee from the scene on foot but was captured by officers.

Police say they found a loaded 9mm handgun lying on the driver’s seat, with another loaded 9mm handgun in the center console’s cup holder. Officers said both weapons had been reported stolen, adding that they also found five more rounds of 9mm ammunition and a .223 round in the glove box of the vehicle, as well as a spent 9mm casing on the driver’s side floorboard.

The affidavit also noted that police say Ray admitted to being a daily smoker of marijuana since the age of 12 and had also used methamphetamine on the day prior to his arrest.

“Illegal drugs and illegal guns are a lethal combination,” U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison said. “A fugitive from justice, driving a stolen vehicle and carrying stolen firearms, is a violent crime waiting to happen. Federal and local law enforcement worked together to bring him to justice and protect our community from further violence.”

Operation: LeGend was named after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed in his own bed early in the morning of June 29. The program was first announced on July 8, with officials hitting the streets in Kansas City last week.

The program has been met with some resistance by communities in Kansas City, who have described the initiative as a “federal occupation” of the city.

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