CHP seizes 42 pounds of fentanyl, enough to kill entire SF population nearly 12 times over

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
CHP seizes 42 pounds of fentanyl, enough to kill entire SF population
The California Highway Patrol has taken enough fentanyl off the streets of the San Francisco's Tenderloin to potentially kill 9.6 million people.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The California Highway Patrol has taken enough fentanyl off the streets of the San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood to potentially kill 9.6 million people, which is the entire city's population nearly a dozen times over.

That adds up to 19.2 kilos, or 42 pounds worth of fentanyl, recovered within a 10-block radius of the Tenderloin.

Governor Gavin Newsom's office directed the CHP to patrol the San Francisco neighborhood after drug deaths soared.

Within six weeks of implementing the partnership, CHP had recovered 4.2 kilos of the deadly drug.

"Removing that much of it, that many fatal doses that otherwise would be out on our streets being ingested by who knows, that's a huge step forward," Officer Andrew Barclay, a spokesperson for the CHP's Golden Gate Division said.

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In that time, the CHP has also issued more than 6,000 citations leading to almost 500 arrests and they've recovered 15 crime-linked guns.

"Our focus from the beginning has been increased patrol in these areas of San Francisco that have been identified as having higher crime or we know that there are, for lack of a better term, these open-air drug markets," Barclay said.

Rene Colorado is Executive Director of the Tenderloin Merchants Association.

He knows the issue all too well.

"I've probably seen one or two overdoses a month which is very unfortunate," Colorado said.

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And he says this is the most progress this area has seen in a decade.

"If anything, it's showing people that hey, it's not kind of a free-for-all anymore," he said.

But, he says, there's more work that still needs to be done.

"I think we need to maintain our current intensity and probably even go further, just because things have improved vastly in the Tenderloin, doesn't mean we're in a good spot, and that doesn't mean where we're at where we're supposed to be but we are definitely headed in the right direction," he said.

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San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins says she's encouraged by these numbers.

"They are able to come in and do actually things for a while that San Francisco police couldn't do, as far as stopping vehicles and issuing those citations," Jenkins said. "This simply tells us that we are on the right track in getting there."

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And says, she's keeping her foot on the gas.

"I see the same challenges that everyone else sees, and so I do recognize that this is only a sign of encouragement, it is not a sign that we are done, we have a long way to go to make sure that we get the Tenderloin and the South of Market area to what it needs to be," she said.

"These results are a testament to the effective collaboration among state, local, and federal law enforcement in San Francisco," Newsom said in a statement. "We will continue to work together to get drugs off our streets, address crime, and make our communities safer."

Similar efforts are also being made by CHP in the East Bay, with a focus on Oakland.

Since February, the Governor's Office says the agency has arrested around 200 suspects and recovered more than 400 stolen cars.

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