Newsom Sends California Highway Patrol to Fight Fentanyl in San Francisco

Newsom and California Highway Patrol (Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Gett
Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is taking on the fight against fentanyl on the streets of San Francisco by sending in the California Highway Patrol, as well as the California National Guard, to help local police.

Last year, San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a “state of emergency” in the Tenderloin district near the center of the city, where open-air drug use had become a scourge, along with homelessness and shoplifting.

But the city’s approach to the problem remained ambivalent, with some city officials urging a “soft touch” to dealing with public use of illicit drugs. Mayor Breed, who reversed her position on defunding police, recently pleaded for help from the federal government to deal with the drug problem, calling it a “public health crisis.”

Newsom, who removed National Guard troops from the U.S-Mexico border, when he took office, announced recently that he would be deploying National Guard personnel to San Francisco to assist in an “analysis” role, along with members of the California Highway Patrol, typically known more for stopping speeding drivers.

In a statement on Friday, Newsom explained what each branch of the state forces would be doing in the city:

As part of this new operation, the CHP will strategically allocate a new team of law enforcement personnel to proactively enforce the law — with a focus on drug trafficking enforcement within key areas of the city, including the Tenderloin. In addition to its supplemental law enforcement efforts, the CHP will provide investigative support to develop sophisticated criminal cases and disrupt illegal opioid trafficking. The CHP will also provide additional specialized Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition Expert training to SFPD personnel to assist local law enforcement in detecting, deterring, and preventing drug and alcohol-related crimes in the city. In a change to operations, San Francisco Area CHP units will also provide supplemental patrol in key areas of the city as workload allows.

CalGuard service members will support the analysis of drug trafficking operations, with a particular focus on disrupting and dismantling fentanyl rings in the region that contribute to the ongoing public safety and public health crisis. Similar CalGuard-supported operations conducted last month statewide resulted in the seizure of 4.7 million fentanyl pills and 2,471 lbs of fentanyl powder — with a wholesale street value of over $49 million combined. Additionally, as part of today’s announcement, the Governor has authorized CalGuard to assist SFPD with administrative non-patrol tasks to improve law enforcement’s ability to address pressing crime-fighting efforts related to this operation.

The operation announced today is expected to begin its enforcement work on Monday, May 1, 2023. Enforcement efforts will not seek to criminalize those struggling with substance use and instead focus on disrupting the supply fueling the fentanyl crisis by holding drug suppliers and traffickers accountable.

Newsom served as mayor of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011, before being elected as Lieutenant Governor for two terms. As mayor, Newsom promised to end chronic homelessness in the city, but the problem simply grew.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Photo: file


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