Bay Area Drug Ring Busted; Eight Arrests and 10 Pounds of Fentanyl Seized
San Francisco, CA – Multiple arrests were made last week in connection to a drug ring out of Oakland, which was said by authorities to have created a public health emergency in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.
A multi-agency effort resulted in the end of this particular drug ring, providing fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs to dealers and individuals alike. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson said that charges have been brought against seven people who allegedly commuted from their Oakland residents to deliver the drugs to the Tenderloin between July and December of this year.
The public health emergency was declared due to the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office of the Medical Examiner reporting that fentanyl has led to 300 deaths in San Francisco from January through August of 2020. Anderson said, “This death toll does not include the many people who have come to the Tenderloin from San Bruno, Walnut Creek and other locations in the Bay Area to buy fentanyl and have died in their hometowns.”
The San Francisco Police Department said that since October, officers have administered Narcan over 100 times in the course of their duty. Narcan is a fast-acting medication that reverses an opioid overdose.
Emilson Jonathan Cruz Mayorquin, aka “Playboy,” who is 23 years old, was arrested and alleged to be the primary actor in the organization, along with his 42-year-old mother, Leydis Yaneth Cruz.
Also arrested in connection to the ring were Ivan Mauro Mayorquin, 35; Pamela Carrero aka “Nicole,” aka “Kendra,” 20; Ana Maldonado, 22; Adonis Torres, 33; and Mayer Benegas-Medina, 27. Gustabo Ramos was arrested in the bust as well. He’s accused of obtaining and selling fentanyl from the organization.
Along with arresting eight total in connection with the “crime family,” federal agents also seized 10 pounds of fentanyl in the bust.
Anderson has been critical of the lack of prosecution in San Francisco, particularly in the Tenderloin, something he says is contributing to drug dealers having such success in “a wonderful neighborhood that is being smothered by lawlessness.”
Anderson said, “First, Tenderloin drug prices are abnormally low. Illegal drug prices are primarily a function of prosecution pressure and distance from the southern border. Relative to its distance from the southern border, the Tenderloin has drug prices that are low because prosecution pressure is low. Without more prosecution pressure the Tenderloin will continue to attract illegal drug buyers and sellers.
A drug ring that federal officials say was enabled by lax prosecution and contributed to what law enforcement calls a public health emergency in San Francisco Tenderloin District has been broken up in a multi-agency operation. https://t.co/UKMEsGBjQG
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) December 16, 2020
“Second, Tenderloin drug trafficking is dominant by fentanyl … Some drug user seek out fentanyl and intend to use it. But other users knowingly and unknowingly are now increasingly being sold fentanyl as a substitute or enhancement for heroin, crack cocaine, counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other drugs. Fentanyl has been estimated to be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
“Third, Tenderloin drug users and pushers are overwhelming not from the Tenderloin neighborhood. Tenderloin drug users and pushers have made it virtually impossible for residents in this neighborhood to live normal lives.”
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin claims that Anderson’s accusations are inaccurate. His office said that he does prosecute drug crimes, but also said they are still pushing for “safe consumption” sites. It’s unclear how his office plans to have this type of site lower an overdose rate.
Rachel Marshall, a spokeswoman from Boudin’s office, said, “In fact, our office files charges in nearly 80 percent of felony drug cases that the police bring us. Rather than partnering with the Trump administration in replicating the failed War on Drugs, I invite the U.S. Attorney to join me in demanding safe consumption sites—which the Trump administration has been blocking across the country. We need investment in a public health approach to prevent the two overdose deaths a day in San Francisco.”
Anderson started the Federal Initiative for the Tenderloin (FIT) last year, which combines resources of 15 federal law enforcement agencies “to combat endemic drug trafficking, firearms offenses, robberies and other crime” within the Tenderloin. The FIT has been even more important since COVID-19 restrictions have been in place.
“Parents and children who are sheltering in place against the Covid virus find it impossible to leave their own homes because of open-air drug use and drug trafficking by people who have come to the Tenderloin from outside the neighborhood,” said Anderson. “No neighborhood should be designated a law-free zone where dangerous drugs can be bought and sold with impunity.”
As of March 2020, over 150 defendants have been charged with federal crimes as part of FIT, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms, escape, robbery, and child pornography.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux said of FIT, “The Federal Initiative in the Tenderloin began more than a year ago with a focus on eradicating the open air drug markets operating in the area with impunity. This case is another example that our sustained efforts are making a difference and we do not intend to take our foot off the gas. The people who live and work in this community deserve a neighborhood in which the rule of law prevails.”