State Watch

San Francisco sues 28 alleged drug dealers to keep them out of drug-ridden neighborhood

Greg Nash

The city of San Francisco has sued 28 alleged drug dealers it says openly ply their trade in a section of the Tenderloin neighborhood.

City officials have said the area covered by the lawsuit is a frequent site of public drug use, according to The Associated Press.

“You see people who are pushing strollers, mothers who have to go out onto the streets and go around the drug dealing, and the drug using,” Mayor London Breed (D) said. “San Francisco has become the place to go to sell drugs, it is known widely, and that has got to stop.”

The lawsuits would bar the defendants from 50 blocks of the Tenderloin and a section of the adjacent South of Market neighborhood, the AP reported. Violations could bring $6,000 fines, arrests on misdemeanor charges and seizure of their assets. 

“These lawsuits won’t solve the problems themselves. But they are a step worth taking,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said.

He noted that actions beyond targeting the dealers are necessary to address the issue, including more drug treatment and mental health options as well as a crackdown on the dealers’ suppliers. “But these injunctions will give law enforcement one more tool to help keep Tenderloin residents safe,” he said.

Only one of the alleged dealers is a San Francisco resident, with the others traveling to the neighborhood from cities like Oakland, San Jose and Hayward.

Chris Nielsen, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco, said numerous dealers commute daily from the eastern Bay Area to the neighborhood. He said the DEA has been investigating drug operations whose territory covers the Seattle area down the West Coast to Mexico.

Last August, federal agents arrested 32 people in connection with drug trafficking in the neighborhood, alleging they have ties to international drug cartels.



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