Federal prosecutors are highlighting a case of an arrest of a Tenderloin drug dealer who allegedly sold significant quantities of fentanyl, as well as a smattering of meth, to undercover agents in the last several months.
We occasionally hear from the SFPD about major and minor drug busts in the Tenderloin, and Mayor London Breed's Tenderloin emergency declaration, which ended in March, may have led to some extra arrests but was ostensibly more geared to getting addicts off the street and into treatment.
But federal agents tend to handle the big busts, like this massive one in the South Bay in February that netted over 800 pounds of meth.
Today we hear from U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and DEA Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon about the arrest of an Oakland-based suspect who doesn't sound too small-time. According to the complaint, 26-year-old Jose Alvarado "engaged in four narcotics sales on different dates in the Tenderloin area to three separate undercover law enforcement officers" between November 2021 and February 2022. These incidents allegedly included the sale of over 40 grams of fentanyl and eight grams of meth.
Given that 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose depending on tolerance, 40 grams of fentanyl is technically enough to kill 20,000 people, or enough to get about 40,000 people high.
The DOJ announcement of the complaint against Alvarado notes that undercover agents didn't have to travel too far from the Federal Building to meet up with him in their last deal setup in February. "The complaint lastly charges that Alvarado met up with this same undercover officer on February 10, 2022, at the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Polk Street – at the corner of a federal law enforcement building – and shortly sold the undercover officer two ounces of fentanyl and one ounce of methamphetamine," the statement says.
Alvarado made his first court appearance Friday, and he faces one count of distributing 40 or more grams of fentanyl, and one count of distributing five or more grams of methamphetamine. Each count comes with a minimum of five years of imprisonment and a maximum of 40 years, as well as a maximum $5 million fine.
Alvarado remains in custody, and there will be a hearing on his detention on Tuesday.
Fentanyl remains a major problem in San Francisco and nationwide, and it is largely responsible for the rise in overdose deaths seen locally in recent years. San Francisco saw 650 overdose deaths in 2021, most attributed to fentanyl, and 700 the year prior.
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