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533 suspected drug dealers arrested in San Francisco in 2023

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Hundreds of suspected drug dealers have been arrested in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood as police continue cracking down on rampant open-air drug dealing and using.

The San Francisco Police Department’s Tenderloin Station officers have arrested 533 people for selling narcotics in 2023 as of August, nearly surpassing the 566 total arrests for narcotics sales in all of 2022.

Police Chief Bill Scott said his officers are also arresting people for using illicit drugs in public, something that officers rarely did last year.

SFPD officers seized 123 kilograms of narcotics, including 80 kilograms of fentanyl in the Tenderloin, surpassing the total amount of drugs seized in all of 2022, Scott announced Friday.    

The drug seizures come amid an ongoing focus by SFPD and partner agencies to dismantle the open-air drug markets.

A fentanyl overdose epidemic has surged through the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods this year. Fentanyl flowing into the city’s drug supply caused fatal overdoses to dramatically increase. During a tour of the Tenderloin earlier this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom described fentanyl dealers as “poison peddlers.”

SFPD officers have increased patrols, buy-busts, warrant operations and larger narcotics investigations. “The SFPD recognizes that we must take a more aggressive approach to combat the crisis and improve street conditions and public safety,” the police department wrote.

Chief Scott said, “We are committed to getting these drugs off our streets, and we are holding these dealers accountable. San Francisco should be a safe place for residents, businesses, and visitors to enjoy.”

For the crackdown, SFPD is working closely with the California Highway Patrol, California National Guard, U.S. Department of Justice, San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, Department of Emergency Management, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Public Health.    

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