Honduran Drug Dealers Say They’ve Flocked to San Francisco Because of Sanctuary Laws

San Francisco’s progressive sanctuary laws have allowed illegal immigrants to enter the city, and this has led to a fentanyl crisis in the United States.

San Francisco’s approach towards illegal immigration is a factor that makes it attractive to sell drugs there, Honduran drug dealers told The San Francisco Chronicle in an investigation of how Honduran nationals are now a major force in the city’s current drug crisis.

San Francisco’s current law, which was last amended in July 2016 prohibits city employees from using city resources for any ICE investigation or detention relating to illegal immigration cases. The publication also noted that the law prohibits ICE placing holds on local prisoner so that they can be deported after their release.

A Honduran drug dealer told The Chronicle that San Francisco was a hotspot for drug dealing because illegal immigrants caught were less likely to face deportation.


Another dealer stated, “The reason for this is that in San Francisco it’s as if you were here in Honduras.” The law is the issue, since they don’t deport. San Francisco is a sanctuary city, which is why many people look there. “You go to prison and you come back.”

San Francisco’s drug arrests has dropped dramatically in recent years. In 2021, only 734 arrests were made. This was followed by 929 in 2020. According to data obtained by The Chronicle, in 2015 1,273 pills were produced. The outlet reported that fentanyl was sold more during the pandemic. During the Covid crisis, Honduran drug dealers began to control the open-air markets of the Tenderloin neighborhood and the South of Market.

According to The Chronicle, the trafficking of illegal drugs that are made in China and then transported through Mexico has made many dealers rich. Some earn as much as $350,00 a year. Many of these dealers have invested their fortunes into mansions located in Siria Valley, north of Honduras capital. Some of the exteriors, including the walls and gates, are decorated with San Francisco 49ers or Giants logos.

Since 2020, the human cost of drug trafficking has been staggering. In San Francisco alone, 2,200 people have died from fentanyl overdoses. Public defenders who represent illegal Honduran immigrants accused of drug offenses have claimed that the immigrants are victims, not criminals. Prosecutors have justified their lenient approach to foreign drug dealers with the argument that many are forced into it by gangs.

Some dealers, for example, owe money coyotes who smuggle illegal migrants across the border. The Chronicle reported that without a steady income, their families may be at risk of retaliation by their creditors. Only three of the 25 dealers interviewed by the publication said that they were forced to enter the business.

A member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors proposed in February to change the sanctuary status of the city due to the high number of fentanyl-related deaths.

Matt Dorsey, Supervisor of the City of San Francisco, said that it was time to remove sanctuary protections from undocumented migrants who trafficked fentanyl in our streets. KRON4 News reported that he proposed legislation to change the city’s policy to deny “sanctuary”, to illegal immigrants, who have been convicted in the last seven years of a fentanyl dealing felony and were re-arrested after committing another violent felony or fentanyl crime.

In a statement, Dorsey’s office stated that a mere two milligrams fentanyl is enough to cause a fatal overdose in most people. The amount of fentanyl seized by the SFPD from drug dealers on the streets in 2022 would be enough to kill all adults in California.