SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A joint drug bust by federal agents and San Francisco police netted more than 12 pounds of the deadly narcotic fentanyl and charges against 18 people suspected of fueling massive drug-dealing operations in San Francisco’s troubled Tenderloin neighborhood, authorities announced this week.
Federal prosecutors charged eight defendants with conspiracy, each in connection with one of two drug trafficking organizations in the East Bay that distributed fentanyl and other narcotics shipped in bulk from Southern California, they said.
San Francisco’s Tenderloin is a diverse neighborhood, home to children and the unhoused, theater venues and government buildings, including City Hall and the U.S. Attorney’s office. It’s also a place where dealers brazenly peddle drugs out in the open and people shoot up in public stairwells.
“The staggering loss of life we’ve seen due to drug overdoses is a public health calamity San Franciscans haven’t witnessed since the height of the AIDS crisis,” said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott in a statement issued Tuesday.
Authorities seized nearly 17 pounds (8 kilograms) of illegal narcotics, including 12.5 pounds (6 kilograms) of fentanyl, a cheap and potent opioid that has fueled overdose deaths in San Francisco and elsewhere.
Police say increased fentanyl trafficking is also driving a sharp increase in gun violence in the neighborhood.