San Francisco drug operation seizes enough fentanyl to kill 2.1 million

San Francisco reached a critical point last month when overdose deaths increased by 41%.

Published: June 15, 2023 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

(The Center Square) - On May 1st, California Governor Gavin Newsom launched a collaborative law enforcement effort to stem fentanyl trafficking, now that initiative is paying off with the seizure of over 9 pounds (4.2 kilos) of fentanyl in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. That’s enough fentanyl to kill 2.1 million people in a city of just over 800,000 residents.

Newsom announced an agreement between the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California National Guard (CalGuard), San Francisco Police Department, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in April, “to create ... a new collaborative operation between all four agencies focused on dismantling fentanyl trafficking and disrupting the supply.”

The first 6 weeks of operation yielded over 957 grams of methamphetamine, 319 grams of cocaine, and 31 grams of heroin. Ninety-two were arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges related to possession of fentanyl, illegal firearm possession, driving under the influence and domestic violence.

Newsom is encouraged by these early successes stating, “I’m proud of the CHP and CalGuard’s lifesaving efforts to shut down the Tenderloin’s poison pipeline and hold drug traffickers accountable. These early results show promise and serve as a call to action: we must do more to clean up San Francisco’s streets, help those struggling with substance use, and eradicate fentanyl from our neighborhoods.”

While CHP undertook the seizures, crucial analysis and technical support was given by CalGuard. Alcoholic Beverage Control is developing a plan to deploy additional resources to address loitering and graffiti around liquor stores, gas stations and markets that hold ABC licenses. Caltrans is addressing graffiti with an uptick in maintenance and signage replacement on high-traffic routes.

NorCal High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas task force has also joined the effort with analysts and personnel to develop a city-wide plan to combat the open-air drug markets which averages 2 deaths per day.

San Francisco reached a critical point last month when overdose deaths increased by 41%. In the first three months of 2023, the city had 268 drug-related deaths and over 330 more opiate overdoses in 11 months averted through the use of Narcan.

Local agencies are building large-scale cases with information gathered by law enforcement and the continued efforts of CalGuard in analyzing the crime syndicate web of connections.

“The operation is focused on targeting fentanyl trafficking, disrupting the supply of the deadly drug in the city, and holding the operators of drug trafficking rings accountable,” a release by the governor’s office said.

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