The Latest: 32 busted in drug operation in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a federal crackdown on drugs in San Francisco (all times local):

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12 p.m.

Federal prosecutors say they've charged 32 people who sold drugs in a notorious San Francisco neighborhood as part of an international operation.

Chris Nielsen, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco, said Wednesday that most of the dealers were Honduran nationals and part of an operation that stretched from Mexico to Seattle.

At a press conference, U.S. Attorney David Anderson also announced the launch of a crackdown in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood, a roughly 50-block area where open drug use has been tolerated for years.

Nielsen said an investigation that began in 2017 uncovered two independent drug trafficking networks that operated in the same way.

People living in the eastern end of the San Francisco Bay Area crossed into the Tenderloin daily to sell cocaine, meth, heroin and fentanyl.

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11 a.m.

Seventeen federal law enforcement agencies are launching a yearlong crackdown on a notorious area of San Francisco where open drug use has been tolerated for years.

U.S. Attorney David Anderson said Wednesday that the federal government is targeting the city's Tenderloin neighborhood with arrests of drug traffickers as the first step in cleaning up a roughly 50-block area he says is "smothered by lawlessness."

The crackdown comes as California has become more tolerant of casual drug use after voters reduced penalties for cocaine and heroin and legalized marijuana.

Anderson said open drug use is imperiling elderly and school-age children who live in an area where housing is cheaper than other parts of a city struggling with income inequality.

He says the drive won't target the neighborhood's huge homeless population.