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56 Kilos of Fentanyl Seized in SF Tenderloin this Summer

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Local and state law enforcement have seized over 100 kilos of narcotics in the Tenderloin and SOMA over the last three months – including over 56 kilos of fentanyl, according to the San Francisco Mayor’s office.

To put this in perspective, one kilo of fentanyl is roughly equivalent to 500,000 doses and has a street price of (roughly) $50,000. Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance that is similar to morphine but is 100% synthetic and about 100 times more potent.

It costs around $1000 to make a kilo of fentanyl, while an ounce is sold for about $1,300 (there are 35.3 ounces in a kilo). Fentanyl pills (commonly referred to as ‘M30s’) are sold for about $5-$10 each and often are mislabeled to mimic other more expensive drugs like Oxycodone or Xanax.  In short, Fentanyl is incredibly profitable for drug cartels and incredibly detrimental to everyone else.

‘Rainbow’ M30 Fentanyl pills.  Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), CC BY-SA 4.0 <, via Wikimedia Commons

Police and Sheriff’s Deputies have also arrested more than 300 dealers in the last three months, along with 123 wanted fugitives in the Tenderloin and South of Market during the same time period.

Overall citywide this year, San Francisco police officers have seized over 135 kilos of narcotics, including over 89 kilos of fentanyl – more than all of last year’s drug seizures combined.

According to this year’s report on Accidental Overdose Deaths from San Francisco’s Chief Medical Examiner, during the first five months of 2023, the number of accidental overdose deaths in the city was 346, a more than 40% spike over the same time period last year.  In May the preliminary number of overdose deaths was 74, which would make it the worst May since the city began releasing monthly overdose death data in 2020.

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Of the total accidental overdose deaths, nearly 80% are due to fentanyl, according to the report. The current rate of overdose deaths would put San Francisco on track to surpass the deaths recorded in 2020 (712), 2021(641) and 2022 (647).

Accidental Overdose Deaths by drug in San Francisco Jan-July 2023 via SF.GOV

For the full report visit here. 

The District Attorney’s Office filed 566 felony narcotics cases. District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said drug dealers profit “from death and holding entire neighborhoods hostage.”  Every person who was detained under public intoxication laws was offered services for treatment, but the vast majority of drug users declined to accept, city officials said.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s deployment of the California Highway Patrol and the National Guard have supported and expanded these efforts. As part of this joint operation, California Highway Patrol has made 100 drug arrests, seizing 39 kilos of narcotics, including 18 kilos of fentanyl. They’ve also seized firearms and partnered with local agencies on training and other enforcement efforts.


Mayor London Breed wrote, “We want people to get help. City health and homelessness outreach teams will continue routine daily outreach to offer services and treatment linkages. But when people don’t accept help, we can’t continue to let them remain on the street causing harm to themselves and to others.”

San Francisco has also been included in “Operation Overdrive“, a federal initiative under the Department of Justice that deploys federal law enforcement resources to help local and state authorities identify and dismantle criminal drug networks.  This means Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been conducting operations in San Francisco and Oakland along with 33 other locations across 23 states.  Operation Overdrive began in February of 2022.

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