Herrera’s Code Enforcement Unit, S.F.P.D. Crash the Party at Tenderloin Hub For Gangs and Drugs

Owner, Shopkeepers of Leavenworth Street’s ‘Café Thug Hangout’ Ordered to Comply with Investigations, City Codes

The Code Enforcement and Resident Protection Unit of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office has won a key legal victory in its effort to prevent the operators of a Tenderloin sandwich shop from continuing to operate as a front for illicit drug trafficking and gang-related activity. On Monday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay issued a temporary restraining order requiring owners and shopkeepers of Café Thuy Hang to cease maintaining the property at 253 Leavenworth Street as a public nuisance and to cooperate with City investigators. The court is set to hear the City’s motion on its request for preliminary injunction on November 5, 2003.

Over the course of much of the last year, an investigation by the City Attorney’s Code Enforcement and Resident Protection Unit — in conjunction with an ongoing criminal probe of the property by the San Francisco Police Department — has developed a compelling case of wrongdoing, with search warrants issued for the premises revealing large amounts of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, stolen goods and evidence of gang activity. A prime target of complaints to local law enforcement officials for some time, Café Thuy Hang is even reported to have earned the dubious moniker “Café Thug Hangout” among Tenderloin neighbors.

“The Tenderloin is a very diverse neighborhood with unique and difficult challenges facing its residents — including drug addiction, drug trafficking and gang activity,” said Captain David A. Shinn, commanding officer of the Tenderloin Police Station. “Working with City Attorney Herrera’s Code Enforcement Unit, Deputy City Attorney Neli Palma and local community leaders, we’re beginning to make a real difference by reining in one of the most troublesome hubs of neighborhood crime.”

After an initial investigation of the property, owner and resident Ahn Trinh acknowledged that a number of youths occasionally resided in the café’s basement — in violation of City health and building codes. Though Trinh denied knowledge of additional illegal activity, another person detained at the site admitted frequenting the café several times a week as a venue for selling stolen goods.

Judge Quidachay’s temporary restraining order that the owner and shopkeepers of Café Thuy Hang cooperate with all criminal and legal investigations, and cease operations of their property as a public nuisance. (Case reference: City and County of San Francisco vs. Rocky L. Leung et al, San Francisco Superior Court No. CGC-03-424806)