SAN FRANCISCO—Illegal drug transactions involving fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin has become an open-air business in the Tenderloin District in San Francisco.

San Francisco Police Department Tenderloin explained to San Francisco News that Narcotics dealing has been an ongoing crime in San Francisco, and “it is difficult to state what is the exact cause(s) which leads it to persist today.”

On September 2, the SFPD announced that they made almost 1,000 arrests for dealing drugs in Tenderloin since August 2019, and about its approach to remove dealers from streets. The day before the announcement, authorities booked 6 suspects including 2 fugitives in open drug cases. They seized over $2,000 and more than 70 grams of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl. Of the six people arrested, two were fugitives in other drug cases.

The drugs are supplied by organized gangs. Some recent tweets made by SFPD Tenderloin are about arrests of drug dealers are listed below.

On August 24, the SFPD tweeted:

“Saturday just before midnight a drug dealer punched a woman in the face at Turk/Larkin. TL officers responded, located the suspect, took him into custody. He was a USMS fugitive & a SF fugitive for drug dealing, & was also viol SA order. Drugs, scales, $1,117.00 seized. S Booked.”

On August 26, the police department tweeted:

“Last night officers had a fentanyl dealer under surveillance. After watching him do a drug deal, he was arrested. 8+ grams of fentanyl, digital scale, $284 seized from him. His 3rd arrest in 90 days for dealing fentanyl at this same location (GG/Hyde). He was booked at CJ.”

On September 3, the SFPD announced their efforts to combat drug traffickers in Tenderloin District. SFPD Narcotics Detail and the Tenderloin Station Street Crimes Unit have been cooperating. From May 18 to August 9, SFPD made 267 arrests for the sale and possession for sale of illegal drugs. When San Francisco News asked about “The SFPD Narcotics Detail and Tenderloin Station Street Crimes Unit”, SFPD Tenderloin answered that they are comprised of plainclothes officers who work in tandem to address narcotics issues in the Tenderloin District. They added that Tenderloin Station increased foot and bicycle patrol on the mid-Market St. corridor between 4th St. and 9th St.

Citywide substance use trends show that overdose deaths totaled 441 in 2019, an increase from 259 deaths in 2018, according to an annual report by the San Francisco Department of Public Health published on August 31, 2020.

SFPD Tenderloin commented to San Francisco News, asking the public for assistance; “Although SFPD has increased presence in these areas, we depend on citizens to report crimes to us and be the best witness they can be.”