In the span of 14 days, the San Francisco Police Department has seized more than one-third of the amount of fentanyl it seized in all of 2022, which is an indication of both the vast quantities being peddled and of stepped-up enforcement efforts.
SF Mayor London Breed announced Thursday that the SFPD just doubled the number of drug-dealing arrests in the Tenderloin and South of Market compared to the previous two weeks, and in the process they "seized alarming levels of fentanyl." In a Twitter thread, Breed reported that 9.5 kilograms of fentanyl was seized during the past two weeks — which she compares to the 25 total kilos seized by the SFPD in all of last year.
From the photos, much of the fentanyl appears to be of the "rainbow" variety, and there was also cocaine and, curiously, the diuretic mannitol?
Under our coordinated drug market enforcement effort, @SFPD has been increasing enforcement.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) July 13, 2023
In the last two weeks, officers doubled the arrests for drug dealing in the TL and South of Market compared to the previous two weeks and seized alarming levels of fentanyl. (1/6) 🧵 pic.twitter.com/AQNTM6UTW2
As the media has been wont to do, noting that 1 kilo of fentanyl is capable of killing a half million people, we can calculate by that math that 9.5 kilos would be capable of giving ODs to every resident of San Francisco about 6 times over.
Getting the drugs off the street is certainly a net good, but getting the dealers off the street is another story — and DA Brooke Jenkins has not been reporting wild success on that front. Jenkins has been doing interviews with local TV stations this week, marking her first full year in the DA's office. And she spoke to ABC 7 the other day, saying that she's filed over 800 drug cases in her first year, but "we've got judges who are allowing these people to be released back into the streets."
A big Chronicle package earlier this week about an area in Honduras that is home to many current and former dealers from San Francisco's streets suggested that poor Honduran migrants seeking to make quick money in the drug trade are attracted to San Francisco in part because they don't spend much time in jail if they get caught, and they don't get deported because of our sanctuary city status.
"This is a complex situation – it's bigger than San Francisco," Breed said of the drug crisis. "It’s going to require local, state and federal law enforcement all working together and continued coordination. There is much more work to do."
The increased enforcement by the SFPD is being supplemented by California Highway Patrol Officers being deployed to the Tenderloin and elsewhere by Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as the presence of SF Sheriff's deputies.
According to Breed, the deputies have been "serving warrants, conducting ankle monitor checks, increasing street presence, and making arrests."
Regarding the controversial new policy of citing and arresting individuals for using drugs, Breed now says that 115 people have been cited or arrested to date, and none have accepted offers of drug treatment or services. And, the mayor says, "the overwhelming majority are not San Francisco residents."
These efforts come too late to help La Cocina's Municipal Marketplace in the Tenderloin, which announced this week that it is closing after next month, in part because it hasn't been able to generate foot traffic due to the squalor on the sidewalks surrounding it. Two security guards employed at the food hall spoke to the Chronicle's Heather Knight, and they blamed the SFPD for not doing any foot patrols or deterring any of the illegal activity up until now.
"If the police were consistent with their patrols and efforts, people would come out here at night," one guard said. And the other added, "The cops drive by and look, and they don’t do anything."
In related news, Supervisor Matt Dorsey wants to block drug dealers from having access to the city's public defenders. As the Chronicle reports, following their investigation into those Honduran dealers which found that some of them can make $350,000 dealing on the street, Dorsey wants to disqualify them from getting public defenders on an income basis — and he's asking the city's budget and legislative analyst to look into steps the city can take to determine suspects' qualification for a taxpayer-funded defense.