San Francisco's Honduran Drug Dealers Are Building Mansions Back Home: Report

Sanctuary city status makes Bay Area 'attractive to the Honduran dealers,' San Francisco Chronicle finds

A billboard in San Francisco / Getty Images
July 10, 2023

Residents of Honduras's Siria Valley are building "handsome new homes, some mansions by local standards, some mansions by any standard," with the money they make from selling drugs in San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

More than 200 Honduran migrants in San Francisco, some of whom are illegal aliens, "have been charged with drug dealing since 2022," according to the Chronicle report. The majority are from the Siria Valley, with some making as much as $350,000 a year. "At least some of that money is sent back to the valley's villages, where it is fueling a real estate boom," the Chronicle reported. One dealer "marveled at the grandeur of some of his neighbors' properties," pointing out one mansion he said was built by a 17-year-old.

Drugs have devastated the Bay Area in recent years, with many big-name companies fleeing San Francisco. Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Saks OFF 5th, Old Navy, and multiple hotels have shuttered San Francisco locations in response to rampant crime and drug use.

In just the last three years, fentanyl has resulted in the deaths of more than 2,200 San Franciscans, according to the Chronicle. While the city often records the deaths as overdoses, a "former leader of a local Honduran trafficking organization" told the paper that most of the deaths are actually murders committed by dealers.

The deep-blue city's Democratic leaders have nevertheless gone easy on drug dealers. Former district attorney Chesa Boudin chose to prosecute zero fentanyl cases before San Franciscans booted him from office, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Left-wingers in February attacked a city lawmaker's bill to "make illegal immigrants caught dealing fentanyl eligible for deportation," while California state legislators as of April killed at least a dozen bills to hold fentanyl dealers more accountable.

"There is usually minimal effort to hide a sale," according to the Chronicle. Many dealers aren't afraid of San Francisco police, with one letting out "a loud laugh" when asked if he fears police officers. One dealer was arrested four times since 2022, the Chronicle confirmed.

One convicted Honduran fentanyl dealer told the Chronicle that "the people from her home village in the Siria Valley love San Francisco."

A major reason for this love, the Chronicle found, is "San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city." The city forbids U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from deporting illegal immigrants for serving time in city jails.

"The only way most dealers face deportation is if they are arrested on federal charges or in another city," the Chronicle explained, making San Francisco "attractive to the Honduran dealers."

The dealers receive their drugs from powerful Mexican cartels, which "ferry them up the West Coast," former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Wade Shannon said.

Kevin DeMattia, who owns a bar in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, told the Chronicle that "the dealers and the addicts" are "ruining the neighborhood in so many ways."

"They're poisoning people," DeMattia said. "They're this cancer, this aggressive, metastasizing cancer on the Tenderloin."