San Francisco to receive federal assistance to combat drug trafficking

Lyanne Melendez Image
Saturday, June 17, 2023
SF to receive federal assistance to combat drug trafficking
San Francisco will be part of "Operation Overdrive," a new federal initiative to combat drug-related violence and overdoses.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Combating the trafficking of fentanyl has become San Francisco's main priority. The city is on pace for the deadliest year of drug overdoses in San Francisco history. Friday morning, it was announced that San Francisco will be part of "Operation Overdrive," a new federal initiative to combat drug-related violence and overdoses.

Perhaps no other city in the country has people shooting up drugs so openly as in San Francisco.

Desperate to solve this crisis, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced San Francisco has been approved for an Operation Overdrive designation by the Justice Department, which, she says, "will soon unlock the city's fentanyl trafficking epidemic."

The city expects the DEA and the FBI to have a hard line with drug dealing.

"We are already seeing more arrests and that will continue," confirmed San Francisco Police Chief William Scott.

MORE: Fentanyl seized by CHP in SF's Tenderloin enough to potentially kill 2.1M people, ABC7 News learns

But the chief says for those addicted, substance abuse services have to be offered.

"I want San Francisco to be known as a city where people can come to get drug recovery, not drug use," vowed San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey.

For too long, people have migrated to San Francisco because of it lax enforcement and social services.

Here's what the police chief said about the 45 people they recently arrested for drug use.

"We have people from other states, other counties. Only three out of 45 list San Francisco as their address," he told the Police Commission.

VIDEO: Here's a look at SF 'Wellness Hubs' plan, which could include safe consumption sites

Mayor London Breed talked about getting tougher on drug dealers and users, while quietly making way for privately-funded safe injection sites.

"That means 95% plus are coming from outside of San Francisco for the purpose of using recreational drugs on our streets and that's not okay," expressed Dorsey.

That's something the press has been reporting on for years now. We were in the Tenderloin and randomly asked people where they were from and why they are here.

We want to clarify, not everyone who's in a tent or unsheltered uses drugs.

"I am Donovan Leak and I am from Maryland, Salisbury, Maryland."

"The services here are amazing," added Leak.

MORE: Advocates say arresting SF Tenderloin's drug users could set off even more overdose deaths

Another person, Dominic, told us they came from the East Bay and added that because he doesn't have a tent, he tries to shoot up as quickly as possible.

"We try to make sure there aren't any children anywhere around. We keep an eye out," he said.

His partner, Rebecca, told us she's from Northern California.

To be fair, we ventured outside of the Tenderloin asking the same questions.

We asked a man who said his name was Shamus, where he was from. His response, "Boston."

VIDEO: A look at San Francisco's fentanyl crisis crackdown 1 month after receiving Gov. Newsom's aid

It has been one month since Gov. Newsom's decision to send in CHP and the National Guard to help crackdown on San Francisco's open-air drug markets.

Shamus told us he arrived two years ago.

"San Francisco is nice, the weather is good, people nice, friendly," he added.

"I get it, it's a beautiful city, but when you get here, we can't allow, whether you're a resident or non-resident, we can't allow to continue to happen what we're seeing happen on the streets right now," said Chief Scott.

With this apparent crackdown on drug sales and drug use, San Francisco is hoping that the message will reach other cities across the country that this city is no longer as permission as it has been.

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