SAN FRANCISCO—California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday, June 14, that the state’s highway patrol seized a total of 4.2 kilograms of fentanyl in the past six weeks which is an amount that can kill the entire population of San Francisco three times over. This was a result of a collaborative public safety operation launched last month to help tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis in the city. 

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers a lethal dose of fentanyl to be 2 milligrams. One kilogram has the potential to kill 500,000 people, and the amount seized in San Francisco is enough to potentially kill 2.1 million people.

This amount of fentanyl was primarily found in the Tenderloin neighborhood and the immediate surrounding area of San Francisco.

In the first six weeks of the operation, the CHP seized over 957 grams of methamphetamine, 319 grams of cocaine, and 31 grams of heroin and made 92 felony and misdemeanor arrests – including on charges related to possession of fentanyl, illegal firearm possession, driving under the influence, and domestic violence. This operation was built on a public safety operation between the city and the state. 

Six national guard analysts have worked to support San Francisco’s Fentanyl Task Force and provide analysis and technical support for law enforcement to shut down organized drug dealing operations. Their work includes mapping out crime syndicate networks and reviewing information for agencies to tackle large-scale cases. 

“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,” said Newsom. 

This collaborative operation involved CHP, CalGuard, the California Department of Justice, the San Francisco Police Department, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. 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. 

According to recent reports, 74 people died this past May in San Francisco as a result of fentanyl use which brings this year’s total deaths from the drug to 346. This is a 40 percent increase compared to the same five-month period in 2022.  

Fentanyl is more powerful per weight than heroin and has been responsible for many accidental overdoses because its potency can fluctuate making it impossible to tell how strong it is.