A judge has imposed strict sanctions against two Tenderloin markets that police and city officials had accused of maintaining “safe havens” for drug dealers and traffickers in stolen goods.
Judge Harold Kahn earlier this month ordered Razan Deli at 391 Ellis St. closed for a year and imposed an $80,000 fine. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the closure would provide “a measure of relief” for local residents.
On Tuesday, Kahn ordered Barah's Market at 200 Leavenworth St. to discontinue “public nuisance” activities, including the sale, storage or distribution of illegal drugs. The market also can’t be open after midnight, and has to employ a security guard in the evening and video surveillance cameras both inside and outside the store.
Police said they had received numerous complaints from neighbors about rampant drug activity and violence near both shops.
Herrera and police Chief Greg Suhr drew attention to the issue in January, accusing employees at both markets of allowing sales of heroin, prescription painkillers and crack cocaine both outside and inside the stores. Barah's Market employees had complained at the time that they were powerless to stop the behavior.
“We deny that our client’s in the business of selling drugs,” said Dan Siegel, attorney for Barah's Market. He said the owners were willing to cooperate with The City, short of shutting down, and hoped for protection against retaliation by dealers.
“I don’t think that small business people who have a comparatively marginal existence as a business … should bear the brunt of The City’s efforts.”