Herrera secures $30,000 penalty, tough injunctions in Tenderloin market drug case
Barah's Market is the second of two stores to settle for operating a 'safe haven' for drug dealing, trafficking in stolen merchandise
SAN FRANCISCO (July 16, 2012) -- A San Francisco Superior Court judge today approved a stipulated judgment against the second of two markets targeted in City Attorney Dennis Herrera's January 2012 civil litigation over illicit drug activity and trafficking in stolen merchandise in the Tenderloin. Under terms of the injunction approved by Judge Harold E. Kahn late this morning, Barah's Market at the corner of Leavenworth and Turk Streets will pay $30,000 in civil penalties to the City over a period of 45 months, and abide by tough, enforceable injunctions for at least the next two years.
The judgment extends provisions of a preliminary injunction Herrera obtained in March requiring the market to cease all public nuisance activities and to close nightly between the hours of midnight and 7:00 a.m. The market is additionally required to employ a uniformed and licensed security guard to patrol the premises from 8 p.m. to midnight; to maintain a video surveillance system to monitor the business's interior and frontage; and to post public notices that the sale of controlled substances in or around the building will subject the owners to further civil penalties. The permanent injunction will extend for an additional two years upon a judicial finding that any of the injunction's terms have been violated, and it authorizes the City Attorney to seek a court order to shutter the store for one-year should the injunction fail to halt further violations of the Drug Abatement Act.
"Barah's Market played a central role in drug dealing and related crimes that victimized its neighbors for too long, and the court acknowledged that the evidence of their lawlessness was overwhelming," said Herrera. "I hope the penalties and tough injunctions we obtained in these two Tenderloin drug abatement cases send a clear message about the steep price businesses will pay for facilitating drug-related crime. I'm very grateful for the outstanding investigative work of the San Francisco Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Greg Suhr, which enabled us to build a strong factual basis for our litigation. We hope it helps protect residents and improve the quality of life for this neighborhood."
A related case against Razan Deli resulted in an order to cease operations on April 1, and to remain shuttered for a period of one year. That market at 391 Ellis Street was the site of 118 calls for police service in 2011 alone, including emergency calls related to a shooting and multiple assaults, according to Herrera's Jan. 30 complaint. Razan Deli was also ordered to pay civil penalties of $80,000 plus interest to the City, and to surrender to the San Francisco Police Department any controlled substances or drug paraphernalia on its premises.
The dual civil actions, which were announced at a joint Jan. 30, 2012 news conference in the Tenderloin by Herrera and Police Chief Suhr, followed undercover police investigations that for more than two years documented a pattern in which the markets operated safe havens for the sale of cocaine, crack, heroin, prescription painkillers and other drugs. The markets were also found to have engaged in the purchase and resale of stolen merchandise, according to the city's complaints.
The case is: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Jaber A. Algahim dba Azaal Market (aka Barah's Market), San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CGC-12-517726, filed Jan. 30, 2012. Additional information is available on the City Attorney's Web site at the following URL: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.
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