San Francisco News

San Francisco cracks down on crack pipes

Thursday, February 17, 2011

San Francisco has launched a crackdown on crack pipes. City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit in Superior Court Thursday morning against six so-called smoke shops and three property owners. The suit alleges the stores are creating a public nuisance and violating the drug abatement act.

Herrera is accusing the shops, which are located in the Ingleside and Mission neighborhoods, of selling pipes for use in smoking crack and methamphetamine as well as other drug paraphernalia. They are not accused of selling drugs. The suit comes after an extensive investigation and undercover operation by the San Francisco Police Department.

May Wong is a neighborhood activist who has been pleading for action. She points out one of the shops is directly across the street from a new public library and others are near places kids gather.

"Just walk down the street, it kind of smacks you in the face," Wong said.

Salih Knawi owns one of the targeted shops. He says after police told him to stop selling the pipes, he took them off the shelves.

"So why are we being sued?" Knawi asked.

Each violation carries a $2,500 penalty. Herrera says often hitting violators in the pocket book is more effective than criminal action.

ABC7 checked with police and prosecutors around the Bay Area. None of them has the smoke shops on their radar as a priority and no one else is initiating a crackdown.

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Tags:
drugs, lawsuit, dennis herrera, san francisco news, carolyn tyler
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