Americas

California seizes fentanyl enough to kill entire population of San Francisco nearly 3 times over – Governor Newsom

By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE

SAN FRANCISCO – Building on the public safety partnership launched last month between the state and the City of San Francisco,  Governor Gavin Newsom announced early operation metrics from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), updates from the California National Guard (CalGuard), and additional administration action to improve public safety and address blight in the city.

Following his deployment of CHP officers and changing CHP jurisdictional protocols on May 1, 2023,  the Governor announced the agency has seized over 4.2 kilos of fentanyl in the Tenderloin and the immediate surrounding area of San Francisco.

Newsom said in a statement sent to Philippine News Today, the amount of fentanyl CHP seized is enough to potentially kill 2.1 million people — the entire population of San Francisco nearly three times over. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, a lethal dose of fentanyl is 2 mg. Additionally, 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.

“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,” Governor Newsom said.

In addition to CHP’s impact, CalGuard has increased its support to the San Francisco Fentanyl Task Force with six analysts, in addition to the fourteen analysts assigned to the NorCal High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) task force. CalGuard has provided critical analysis and technical support to law enforcement to shut down drug trafficking operations in the city and the surrounding region as part of the Governor’s public safety operation. As CalGuard continues to map crime syndicate networks, service members have reviewed a significant amount of law enforcement information to assist local agencies build large-scale cases. Further metrics quantifying CalGuard’s impact are expected to be available in the future as cases further develop.

At the Governor’s directive, state agencies are also taking other initial measures to improve public safety and address blight in San Francisco. These efforts include:

  • Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is developing a plan to deploy additional resources to address issues of blight in the Tenderloin – including loitering and graffiti – surrounding liquor stores, gas stations, and markets that hold ABC licenses;
  • Caltrans is increasing its graffiti abatement efforts, improving and replacing signage, and increasing maintenance and beautification measures in high-traffic corridors; and
  • The state is facilitating improved regional law enforcement coordination through the NorCal HIDTA and has assigned personnel to help facilitate the development of San Francisco’s strategic plan to address the city’s challenges with open-air drug markets.

Launched by Governor Newsom on May 1, 2023, the joint public safety operation in San Francisco serves as a collaborative effort between multiple agencies, including CHP, CalGuard, the California Department of Justice, the San Francisco Police Department, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA). 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. The operation builds on the Governor’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis, which includes an expansion of CalGuard-supported operations that last year led to a 594% increase in seized fentanyl and historic levels of funding — $1 billion statewide — to crack down on the crisis. (Claire Rivera Morales True/cmtpr1962@yahoo.com.ph)