Drug bust investigation expands to include supervisor of SFPD undercover unit 

The investigation into members of the undercover unit accused of illegal drug raids includes the unit’s supervisor, police Chief Jeff Godown said Sunday.

Six members of the unit were named last week by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who alleged they raided San Francisco residential hotel rooms in drug busts, without warrants or consent, and that two members of the unit then falsified police reports. Adachi showed reporters surveillance videos from the hotels that appeared to show discrepancies between the police accounts and what actually happened.

Separate investigations are now under way by the FBI; the office of District Attorney George Gascón, who was police chief at the time of the raids; and the Police Department’s Internal Affairs division, begun last year by Gascón in response to another drug-related scandal involving the alleged theft of cocaine by a former criminalist at the department’s crime lab.

Godown said Sunday that the sergeant in charge of Southern Station’s plainclothes unit — which handles undercover investigations into narcotics, gangs and robberies, among other crime — is among those being looked at.

“We’re looking at all facets of the investigation,” including the supervisor, Godown said. He did not name the supervisor.

Godown said the investigation would look at all the arrests made by the unit, supervision of the unit, and the department’s policies and procedures, as well as any other video evidence should it turn up.

“I’m doing a complete, thorough biopsy of all the day-to-day operations of that unit,” he said.

In the meantime, the six officers named by Adachi — Raymond Kane, Raul Elias, Richard Yick, Arshad Razzak, Arthur Madrid and Robert Forneris — are off the street and on administrative duty. The sergeant is still on active duty.

“The entire plainclothes unit at Southern has been shut down,” Godown said. He said plainclothes units at the nine other district stations are not part of the investigation. Southern Station, located in the same building as police headquarters, covers the South of Market, southern Embarcadero, China Basin and Treasure Island areas.

Prosecutors have now dropped two cases, and a judge a third case, involving the Southern plainclothes unit.


Case dismissed

Officers allegedly falsified reports saying they entered hotel rooms with consent.

Dec. 23: Officers enter room at the Henry Hotel, 106 Sixth St., find alleged heroin and crack cocaine and arrest one person. Case dismissed by prosecutors.

Dec. 31: Officers enter room at the Hotel Royan, 405 Valencia St., find alleged crack cocaine and arrest one person. Case dismissed by prosecutors.

Jan. 5:
Officers enter another room at the Henry Hotel, find alleged heroin and arrest two people. Case dismissed by judge.

Source: Public Defender’s Office

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