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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of California

For Immediate Release

April 19, 2011

Melinda Haag, United States Attorney

Contact: Jack Gillund
(415) 436-6599

Operation Deep Water Investigation Concludes with Nine Targets Federally Indicted

Undercover Operation Aimed At Reducing Tenderloin Violence

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury has indicted nine individuals operating in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco with a variety of federal narcotics trafficking offenses, United States Attorney MELINDA HAAG, ATF Special Agent in Charge STEPHEN C. HERKINS, and Interim San Francisco Police Chief JEFF GODOWN announced. The investigation involved a series of undercover operations, collectively referred to as Operation Deep Water.

Operation Deep Water was a collaborative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the San Francisco Police Department Tenderloin Station (SFPD), the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and the California Department of Corrections Special Services Unit (CDC-SSU). From December 2009 through August of 2010, these agencies worked together conducting undercover operations to deter illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking in the area known as the Tenderloin, undertaken to address violence that was occurring in that area. The targets of the operation were individuals with access to narcotics and firearms in the Tenderloin neighborhood who, unbeknownst to them, were actually selling their contraband to undercover federal law enforcement agents.

According to the indictments, nine separate defendants ranging in age from 25 to 63 are alleged to have trafficked in narcotics ranging from methamphetamine or crystal meth, to crack cocaine, to powder cocaine. Several of the defendants were also charged with using a communications facility to commit the underlying felony offenses. Federal arrest warrants have issued for each individual.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of distribution of narcotics in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sections 841 and 846 is 40 years and a fine of $5,000,000, plus restitution if appropriate. Several of the drug distribution counts charged carry mandatory minimum terms of five years imprisonment due to the weights involved. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of using a communications facility to facilitate a felony offense in violation of 21 U.S.C. Section 843(b) are the same penalties of those underlying drug trafficking offenses. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Kathryn R. Haun and Drew Caputo are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the cases with the assistance of Elise Etter. The prosecution is the result of a year long joint investigation by the ATF, USMS, SFPD, and CDC-SSU.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, the targets of Operation Deep Water must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Further Information:

  • Case #: 10-CR-906-JSW
  • 11-CR-219-RS
  • 11-CR-220-WHA
  • 11-CR-221-WHA
  • 11-CR-250-RS
  • 11-CR-251-JSW

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Web site at

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s Web site at

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by email at