SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Department of Justice announced charges Wednesday against an alleged San Francisco Tenderloin District drug dealer for selling fentanyl that resulted in two overdoses, with one victim dying from the substance.
The United States Attorney's Office said Celin David Doblado-Canaca, 38, sold fentanyl near the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Hyde Streets on May 18. The drugs made their way to San Bruno, where the two victims ingested the substance, thinking it was cocaine.
A family member discovered the victims in the early hours of May 19. One user died and the drug hospitalized the other one. When announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson pointed out that "many drug users who die of fentanyl overdoses never even know that they have been given fentanyl."
"Because it is incredibly powerful in even the smallest doses, fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs and marketed as other drugs," Anderson said.
Agents traced the sale of the drugs back to Doblado-Canaca and arrested him months later on Aug. 21. Before they took him into custody, officers searched him at a liquor store on the corner of Hyde and Turk streets. They found more than a dozen small baggies of substances alleged to be fentanyl and heroin, which appeared to be organized for sale.
Doblado-Canaca faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines if convicted.
During the press conference, Anderson claimed that the "epicenter of this fentanyl disaster is the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco."
"I feel strongly that the Tenderloin is a wonderful neighborhood, a diverse neighborhood, a relatively affordable neighborhood, a neighborhood of children and the elderly," Anderson said. "However, the Tenderloin neighborhood is also home to an open-air drug market that is spreading death throughout the Bay Area."
Toby Schwartz, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said that working on drug overdose cases is a priority for his agency.
"We want to send the message to all those who are distributing this poison in our community, we will find you and bring you to justice," Schwartz said.
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