Nine alleged drug dealers have been indicted by a federal grand jury after an almost yearlong undercover operation targeting the Tenderloin narcotics market.
Dubbed "Operation Deep Water," the busts occurred between December 2009 and August 2010, around the same time that San Francisco Police under then-Chief George Gascón conducted their own crackdown on drug dealing in the area.
The operation was a collaboration between several law enforcement agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the San Francisco Police Department Tenderloin Station. It not only targeted narcotics but guns as well, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. Nine separate defendants between the ages of 25 and 63 allegedly trafficked methamphetamine, crack cocaine and powder cocaine, according to the indictment.
Several of the defendants were also charged with using cellphones to commit the underlying felony offenses, which is also a federal crime.
The indictments revealed very few details, only that the amount of drugs involved in each count was more than five grams.
Gascón’s crackdown drew criticism along with an increase in inmates at county jail. Some saw the focused law enforcement activity in the Tenderloin as a good thing but something that could not be sustained, such as Dina Hilliard with the North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District.
"We were excited about the possibilities of what Gascón was promising," Hilliard said. "We knew from the beginning it wasn’t sustainable. You could definitely see an improvement on the ground at the time, but that’s not what we see now."
Indicted in a federal sweep of alleged Tenderloin drug dealers:
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office