A federal lawyer announced the apprehension and charges against nearly three dozen individuals in San Francisco, California, on Aug. 7 as part of a newly-formed initiative to crackdown on crime.
The individuals charged were mostly Honduran nationals linked to a large-scale operation that poured heroin and cocaine into the Tenderloin District: neighborhoods scourged by crime and homelessness. To remediate the district “smothered by lawlessness,” United States Attorney David Anderson detailed the “Federal Initiative for the Tenderloin (FIT).”
Anderson said, “Today … there have been 32 individuals charged with more to come.”
“It is my perception based on the data that the Tenderloin has become a magnet for retail drug trafficking to an extraordinary degree,” said Anderson in the press briefing. “Second, there is a substantial federal presence here in the Tenderloin neighborhood, and I feel that as federal law enforcement, we have a special responsibility for our city.”
Crime and Homelessness in Tenderloin
An estimated 22,000 people inject drugs in San Francisco, and just over 30 percent reside in Tenderloin, according to an estimate from 2015 by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Heroin is the drug of choice.
District six (which includes Tenderloin) is also home to the largest homeless population in the city. The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing reported an increase of almost 17 percent in homelessness since last year—over 8,000 people.
FIT’s primary focus will be prosecuting federal charges such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, firearm offenses, and others, although it will not target the innocent homeless, Anderson said.
“The Tenderloin neighborhood deserves the benefits of the rule of law every bit as much as other neighborhoods in this city.” U.S. Attorney Anderson said. Tenderloin has the highest crime rate in San Francisco.
President Donald Trump appointed Anderson to the Northern District Court of California, and he assumed office in January. He was preceded by Melinda Haag who served from 2010 to 2016.