Attorney General Bonta: California DOJ Continues Ongoing Efforts to Protect Californians from the Dangers of Fentanyl

Friday, April 28, 2023
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DOJ is working with local law enforcement and prosecutors statewide

SAN FRANCISCO — Attorney General Rob Bonta today, with Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new multiagency operation in the fight against fentanyl within the city of San Francisco. As part of the operation and its ongoing work to address the fentanyl crisis, the California Department of Justice (CADOJ) intends to provide legal expertise, assist in collaborative large-scale arrests and advise in multijurisdictional cases. The joint operation announced today will serve as a collaborative effort between multiple agencies, including DOJ, California Highway Patrol (CHP), California National Guard (CalGuard) personnel, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA). The operation will focus on targeting fentanyl trafficking, disrupting the supply of the deadly drug in the city, and holding the operators of drug trafficking rings accountable.

“The fentanyl crisis is a serious threat to public health and the safety of our communities — and addressing this crisis requires a multifaceted, collaborative approach,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The California Department of Justice works every day to combat the fentanyl crisis, from seizing illicit fentanyl through our ongoing enforcement efforts bringing California billions of dollars through our lawsuits and investigative efforts to hold the opioid industry accountable. Shoulder to shoulder with our partners in this operation, we stand ready to provide legal expertise and assistance in prosecuting complex and multi-jurisdictional cases and protecting our communities from those who traffic deadly poison. The California Department of Justice is all-in when it comes to protecting California families from the dangers of fentanyl.” 

Fentanyl is a powerful and potentially addictive synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin. A small amount of fentanyl, just two milligrams, can result in overdose and potentially death.

DOJ’s allied task forces are working actively with law enforcement partners throughout California to detect, deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal fentanyl operations and prevent fentanyl from reaching neighborhoods and communities. Attorney General Bonta announced the seizure of over four million fentanyl pills and almost 900 pounds of fentanyl powder, and over 200 arrests through DOJ’s Bureau of Investigation's work with allied task forces throughout California since April 2021. Attorney General Bonta also announced in 2022-2023 budget year, DOJ secured $7.9 million for the creation of the program within DOJ under coordination of its Bureau of Investigation to expand this important work, with an allocation of $6.7 million in ongoing funding.

DOJ's on-the-ground work has touched many other communities including:

  • Southern California, through the Los Angeles IMPACT Task Force, with nearly 2.3 million fentanyl pills and 762 pounds of powder seized and 121 suspects arrested.
  • Inland Empire, through the Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force, with 790,000 pills and over 36 pounds of fentanyl powder seized and 25 suspects arrested.
  • Central Valley, through the Merced Area Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team, with 440,000 pills and 15 pounds of fentanyl powder seized and 18 suspects arrested, as well as the High Impact Investigation Team, with 488,000 pills and 47 pounds of fentanyl powder seized and 17 suspects arrested.

In addition to this enforcement work, Attorney General Bonta continues an all-in approach by advancing effective public policy and working with national partners to hold the opioid industry accountable for their role in creating the opioid crisis and its impacts. To date, DOJ has secured over $32 billion through nationwide settlements, including $2 billion for California, bringing needed funding back to communities for treatment and prevention strategies.

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