(KTSF by Sean Au)
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is joined by San Francisco Police Department Chief Greg Suhr in seeking the closure two markets in the Tenderloin district for allegedly operating as a safe haven for drug dealers.
Police say two years of undercover investigation show that Barah Market at Leavenworth Street and Razan Deli at Ellis Street have been the subject of 182 calls for police service during 2011 alone. Police accuse both businesses of allegedly providing a safe haven for the sale of cocaine, crack, heroin and prescription drug.
Police also claim that some shoplifters who steal from the Walgreens nearby bring the stolen goods to sell to the stores and that staff from the stores would allegedly buy these goods and re-sell them to other customers.
Police spokesperson Darryl Fong says, “We have conducted the undercover operations that led to the identity of these businesses that are engaging in these types of activities, and now the City Attorney’s office has taken this info and attempted to shut down this type of business.”
Razan Deli is currently not open for business. Hashem Alkahim, a storekeeper of Barah Market, claims that he is not aware of anyone selling stolen goods, and cannot control the illicit activities happening outside the store. “It is 24 hours, not just one hour or something, we complain a lot about those people here that stay outside the store, but we cannot move them,” says Alkahim.
Herrera has filed a civil lawsuit to have the two markets closed for a year, and to pay civil penalties of $25,000 each for maintaining a public nuisance. “We are not going to tolerate illicit activities that is threatening the public safety of one of the most vibrant and diverse communities here in the city of San Francisco, that provides safe affordable housing for young immigrant families and seniors as well,” says Herrera.
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