The following is a letter the Humboldt Cou/nty Board of Supervisors authored to San Francisco District Attorney Chelsea Boudin urging him to prosecute fentanyl dealers:
Dear District Attorney Boudin,
We are aware that the Mayor of San Francisco, Ms. London Breed, has declared a State of Emergency in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. One of the main reasons she has done so is due to the fentanyl epidemic in the area. The “open air dealing” of drugs in the Tenderloin area is causing an environment in which these drugs can be easily located, transported, sold and distributed in the area with no repercussions.
We agree with the mayor and believe the state of affairs in the Tenderloin call for a State of Emergency. Not only does fentanyl cause an emergency for the citizens of San Francisco, but the emergency then spreads to other counties, like ours. The Humboldt County Drug Task Force has surveyed numerous suspected drug dealers and has followed them to the San Francisco Tenderloin District, wherein, they observed them purchasing fentanyl from dealers in the Tenderloin. They were then followed back to Humboldt where they were stopped, and the fentanyl was confiscated. In fact, four people were arrested on April 25, 2022, as they entered Humboldt County after they had purchased fentanyl from the Tenderloin District. Humboldt County had 2 arrests for fentanyl possession in 2020 and 84 arrests in 2021. Currently arrests for fentanyl possession in 2022 are already at 76 and it is only 4 months into the year.
As you are aware, fentanyl deaths due to overdose have become a great problem in California. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported 45 deaths from overdoses of fentanyl in March of 2022 in San Francisco alone. Humboldt County has also had many deaths due to the fentanyl that has made it to our county from the Tenderloin. In 2021, Humboldt County lost 35 citizens due to confirmed fentanyl overdoses. The Tenderloin District has become the hub for the purchase of drugs, specifically for the purchase of fentanyl. We ask that your office support the effort of your police department and prosecute the dealers that have taken over your County. It is crucial that the drug haven be dismantled, and the dealers be prosecuted to the full extent of the law in order to prevent another person from needlessly dying from this horrible drug.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera of San Francisco filed 28 civil lawsuits against known drug dealers seeking an injunction to prevent them from coming into the Tenderloin. He filed the injunctions in order to help stop the brazen open-air drug dealing that has plagued the Tenderloin neighborhood and caused many overdose deaths due to fentanyl. He stated that “We know who these predators are, and we will not allow them to victimize Tenderloin residents with impunity. Dealers take note: If you come to the Tenderloin, you will be arrested, and your drugs will be confiscated.”
You have the ability to continue this effort by prosecuting all cases that are brought to your office and make sure the dealers around the state understand that they are not welcome into your county any longer. It is imperative that your office focus on this emergency and work with neighboring counties in order to establish both a short-term and long-term solution to this fentanyl crisis. The County of Humboldt refuses to sit idle while this drug pours into our county from the Tenderloin. If we cannot reach an acceptable solution, we may consider a legal remedy. We look forward to hearing from your office on this most important issue .
Virginia Bass, Chair Humboldt County Board of Supervisors