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New SF DA vows more aggressive prosecution of drug offenses

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Thomas Hawk
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San Francisco's Hall o Justice

Jenkins is bringing back a weight limit threshold -- dropped under the administration of Chesa Boudin, who was recalled from office in June's election -- to ensure alleged dealers arrested with more than 5 grams of illegal drugs would face felony charges, rather than be sent to rehabilitative court.

The policy also may bring harsher charges for drug dealing within a 1,000-foot radius of a school, and Jenkins' office is considering pre-trial detention in cases deemed especially "extreme."

Jenkins said the Boudin administration allowed repeat dealers arrested with as much as 500 grams of fentanyl to be sent to the community justice court. She said allowing dealers to "operate with impunity" is partially the reason nearly 15-hundred people in the city have died of an accidental overdose since 2020.

SF Public Defender Mano Raju, whose elected office represents defendants who cannot afford a private attorney, criticized the "arbitrary" nature of the five-gram weight limit, calling it a regressive and carceral practice that has exacerbated the public health crisis of substance abuse and fueled mass incarceration.

According to the District Attorney's Office, out of the current open narcotics sales cases in rehabilitative court, there are 37 cases that involve over 50 grams of fentanyl, the highest being 308 grams.