SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Police officers combating San Francisco’s fentanyl overdose crisis recently traced supplies flowing into the Tenderloin back to drug houses in Oakland, according to investigators.

Officers with the San Francisco Police Department Narcotics Detail and Tenderloin Police Station are focused on intercepting deadly drugs earmarked for the Tenderloin, where fatal overdoses are occurring with tragic frequency.

An investigation that began with one suspected Tenderloin drug dealer, Darwin Betanco, 31, of Oakland, resulted in officers finding more than five pounds of fentanyl and one pound of methamphetamine, according to SFPD.

Police initially obtained a search warrant for Betanco because he was identified as a suspect involved in the sales of narcotics in the Tenderloin. Also listed on the search warrants were two homes in Oakland associated with Betanco.

On May 3, officers found Betanco on the 700 block of Turk Street and took him into custody. When they searched his car, officers found 2.7 pounds of suspected narcotics.  

A short time later, SFPD officers served a search warrant at a house on Solano Way in Oakland. During the search, 10 adults and a juvenile were detained inside the residence. Officers located and seized numerous suspected narcotics, two firearms, and over $7,000 in cash.

Investigators developed probable cause to arrest one of the adults in the house: 25-year-old Wendy Argueta of Oakland. 

Argueta was booked into Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail for child endangerment and possessing a ghost gun.

Officers also served a search warrant at a home on 64th Avenue in Oakland. During the search, 19-year-old Ricky Murillo of Oakland was detained.

Murillo was booked into Santa Rita Jail for possession of a controlled substance for sale, and maintaining a drug house.

Betanco was booked into a San Francisco County jail for the following charges: possession of drugs for sale (fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine), maintaining narcotics in a residence where drugs are sold/maintained, and transporting controlled substances.

As a result of these arrests and search warrants, the following amounts of narcotics were seized:

  • 5.6 pounds of suspected fentanyl
  • 1.1 pounds of suspected methamphetamine
  • 5.3 ounces of suspected cocaine base
  • 4.6 ounces of suspected cocaine power

Two-hundred victims died from accidental drug overdoses in San Francisco within the first three months of 2023, according to data released by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Of those deaths, 159 were caused by fentanyl, a highly addictive and cheap synthetic opioid.