Governor Newsom Welcomes New Resources from the U.S. Department of Justice to Combat Fentanyl Trafficking in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a statement following the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that it has approved an Operation Overdrive designation for San Francisco — unlocking new federal resources to combat the city’s fentanyl trafficking epidemic. Today’s announcement comes after efforts by Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, as well as a letter from the Governor last month urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to designate the city for Operation Overdrive status.

“With this critical designation, our partners in the federal government are stepping up and I couldn’t be more appreciative,” said Governor Newsom. “Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco is now officially an Operation Overdrive jurisdiction, giving us more tools and resources to push back on the scourge of dangerous opioids in our communities. The fentanyl crisis knows no borders and we all must work together – at all levels of government – to shut down the poison pipeline and end this crisis of humanity on our streets.”

Operation Overdrive deploys federal law enforcement resources to help local and state authorities “identify and dismantle criminal drug networks operating in areas with the highest rates of violence and drug poisoning deaths.” The initiative is expected to launch in San Francisco in the coming months.

In addition to his letter to Attorney General Garland last month urging for Operation Overdrive status, the Governor also directed state officials to work with Speaker Emerita Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Attorney’s Office to secure this designation. Today’s designation follows the Governor’s announcement yesterday highlighting the state’s initial results of its operation to improve public safety and address blight in San Francisco. Since the Governor’s operation began on May 1, 2023, the California Highway Patrol seized enough fentanyl to potentially kill 2.1 million people — the entire population of San Francisco nearly three times over.

Governor Newsom’s top priority is protecting the safety, health, and well-being of all Californians. Since he took office in 2019, California has made critical investments to improve public safety and quality of life across California, including in San Francisco, through targeted efforts to reduce gun violence, combat organized retail crime, crack down on the fentanyl crisis, and improve access to essential supports, including mental health services and housing. The Governor’s public safety operation in San Francisco builds on his Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis, which includes an expansion of CalGuard-supported operations that last year led to a 594% increase in seized fentanyl and historic levels of funding — $1 billion statewide — to crack down on the crisis; new initiatives in support of law enforcement personnel, including investments to improve general officer health and well-being, build resiliency, decrease stress and trauma, and improve community trust and relations; an expansion of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force to bolster local and state law enforcement efforts to address organized retail theft and other crimes, and support affected businesses; new laws, funding, and initiatives to reduce gun violence; and a litany of programs and efforts to address the housing, homelessness, and mental health crisis.

###