Most arrested in San Francisco Tenderloin drug operation released from custody

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Most of the 63 suspects arrested in an SFPD operation targeting drug sales in the Tenderloin over a six-day period in mid-October are out of custody, many most likely back on the streets.

For six days, from October 10 through 16, undercover officers arrested 63 people in the Tenderloin and charged them with multiple drug offenses.

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Most were accused of selling narcotics to undercover officers during buy busts -- among them Darwin Betanco, who was caught with 124 bindles of cocaine.

It was his third arrest in the Tenderloin this year.

Carlos Contreras, arrested for allegedly selling cocaine, violated a stay away order. It was also his third arrest this year.

Also arrested for selling drugs was Jasleen Delao, who police say had 22 baggies of crack cocaine, 25 baggies of powdered cocaine, 92 baggies of heroin and 25 baggies of meth. She also violated multiple stay away orders from the Tenderloin.

"The officers are out there doing their job," said Tony Montoya, who heads the Police Union. "But they're just literally, it's like a catch and release type program. Where there's no real incentive for these people to stop doing what they're doing."

ABC7 News has learned that 80 percent of the 63 suspects were out of custody one week after their arrests.

Documents reveal that the DA charged three quarters of the cases, considered a good charge rate. Judges dismissed 15 of those charged.

Those out of custody made bail, were put on probation, had their cases dismissed or reduced or are awaiting court dates.

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"The people who are on probation, you'll see them add a second or third probation already, or they'll extend the current one they'll have," Montoya said.

Adam Mesnick lives downtown and monitors the drug dealing in his neighborhood. He posts what he sees on his Twitter account. "And the other challenge is again, trying to request or take a drug dealer off the street that has easy money coming into his pocket every day."

Mesnick says he's heard out on the streets that they're making as much as $1,000 a day - all tax free. And that's hard to give up.

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