Pilot program targets pill pushers

Police sting operations battling illegal pill sales at a long-troubled Tenderloin intersection have inadvertently pushed the dealing to nearby blocks, but cops say they have been making headway in banishing pushers.

Police are in the beginning stages of a pilot program to reduce rampant illegal pharmaceutical pill sales at Turk and Leavenworth streets — one that includes bi-weekly nighttime stings, tracking repeat offenders and an increased push to ban out-of-town dealers from hawking in The City.

Along with stings, more cops have been posted in trouble spots to prevent the crimes.

The heightened presence has helped to reduce dealing, Tenderloin Station Capt. Joe Garrity said. But it has also pushed some of the activity to Hyde and O’Farrell streets and to Turk and Hyde streets, he said.

In response, police have also conducted stings on the Hyde Street corridor, Garrity said. In a recent week of stings, he said 11 sellers were arrested.

As part of the health and safety code pilot program, which is expected to grow in the next few months, police plan to log drug arrests and citations into a closely tracked database and consult with the District Attorney’s Office to stiffen consequences for repeat offenders.

City officials also plan to monitor an intervention program for dealers at the Community Justice Center, Garrity said.

Police are also considering posting signs at the entrances of businesses and buildings in drug-addled areas warning about enforcement of the health and safety code, Garrity said, as well as launching stings with plainclothes officers targeting crooks who rob drug dealers.

A San Francisco Examiner probe into the problem last summer revealed dozens of drug deals take place only feet from children walking to a nearby elementary school.

Police Chief George Gascón has said that jailing street dealers is like “paddling against the current,” and last summer announced efforts to work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to bust law-breaking doctors, pharmacies and patients with prescriptions.

Last month in San Francisco, the owner of a large online pharmaceutical company pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom to illegally hawking $48 million worth of controlled drugs.

In October, the DEA said CVS Pharmacy admitted that it unlawfully sold pseudoephedrine to criminals who make methamphetamine.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocalSan Francisco PoliceTenderloin

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken different approaches to transit and infrastructure funding. <ins>(Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)</ins>
Bay Area transit has big hopes for a Biden administration

The best chance for local agencies to get relief may be a change in federal leadership

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

East Bay hills and Port of Oakland visible from Point San Bruno Park jetty. (Shutterstock)
East Bay agencies urge precautionary evacuations ahead of wind event

At least two East Bay jurisdictions suggested Sunday that residents in the… Continue reading

Nate Durand of Chug Pub created an election-themed cocktail which has several names: Biden Harris, Barris, Hiden, and/or Dem Juice. (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Drink blue, no matter who

But bar parties aren’t planned for Election Day

Lee Vining and Inyo National Forest are excellent fall color tour destinations. (Matt Johanson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Gold Rush: Go now to see Sierra fall color

Maples, oaks, dogwoods, aspens glow in the next few weeks

Most Read