ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: 48 arrests made in large drug bust in San Francisco

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ByVic Lee KGO logo
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
48 arrests made in large drug bust in San Francisco
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San Francisco made 48 arrests, including two murder suspects, in the city's biggest drug bust in recent memory.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A joint task force led by San Francisco police has broken up a huge suspected drug trafficking ring at the city's United Nations Plaza and Market Street areas. Police say the traffickers were mostly undocumented dealers from Honduras.

It was one of the biggest drug busts in San Francisco in recent memory with 48 arrests, including two murder suspects. The lead case agent Brentton Reeder says there's more arrests to come.

Most of the drug arrests in the Tenderloin and Market Street happen in public, but these did not. It was a finely-tuned operation involving the San Francisco Police Department, Alameda County Narcotics Task Force and the DEA.

The investigation started because of increasing complaints from those who work and live around U.N. Plaza and Market Street, and not because of the Super Bowl.

"They began videotaping dealers, conducting deals in the area and eventually they got enough to go to the grand jury," said San Francisco police Cmdr. Tony Chaplin.

Armed with search warrants, the task force went to 11 homes, mostly in the East Bay where they found the dealers living together and commuting on BART to U.N. Plaza to sell their drugs.

"They came across together. They sell narcotics together. They go back home together and they live together," Chaplin added.

The task force arrested 48 suspected dealers during the past three weeks. Police say they also discovered that the alleged drug trafficking ring was run by undocumented Hondurans.

"Soon as they approached the residences, people were literally jumping out the windows," Chaplin said.

Police found other evidence as they searched the homes: drugs, $75,000 in cash and handguns.

"It's cleaner yes. The environment is a lot cleaner," said Jackie Juarez, a U.N. Plaza regular.

Since the arrests, regulars who frequent U.N. Plaza and the surrounding Tenderloin say the usual suspects aren't there anymore.

"Just like in Carl's Jr. when you're going to the restroom, you can't even get in there because they're doing drugs," said Juarez.

A lot of the open drug dealing was happening at the BART escalator near U.N. Plaza.

"You'd see a lot of drug dealers at the top. Yesterday they weren't there and I said, 'What is going on here?'" said John, a regular at U.N. Plaza.

Police say more arrests are coming.