Stanley Roberts: The Backpack Brigade

Part 2 of a 4-part series on the opioid crisis in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District

The Backpack Brigade

In the second part of a 4-part series about the opioid crisis in San Francisco (a.k.a. Gotham By The Bay), Stanley Roberts looks at the people involved in selling heroin, meth, crack cocaine, and fentanyl in the Tenderloin District.

Despite multiple arrests and seizures, the drugs and the dealers are still on the streets. In 2020 approx 5 kilos of fentanyl was seized in San Francisco, but in 2021 it has risen to 19 kilos — or almost 42 pounds — a significant jump. 

There is also an issue with people transporting large quantities of drugs through the Bay Area Rapid Transit also known as BART. Fentanyl is such a dangerous drug that one grain the size of a grain of sand could be fatal.  

BART Released a statement about backpacks full of drugs on their trains: 

“BART has well-established procedures to handle a wide range of incidents aboard train cars, including the dissemination of unknown powders and potentially dangerous substances.

While the specific procedures are security sensitive information, we can say generally that the steps include:

Initiating the Incident Command System;

Response to the incident;

Isolating and evacuating the incident area;

Rendering first aid/medical care as necessary;

Decontaminating the incident area;

Notifying relevant partner agencies and passengers.

Additionally, BART has mutual aid agreements with City and County Responders in the BART operational area in order to fully integrate into the region’s Incident and Unified Command System for response and recovery.

BART not only has procedures in place for such incidents; it conducts drills and exercises to hone responses, verify equipment capability and integrated response capability  

Executive Producer: Stanley Roberts

Executive Producer: Susan D. Reynolds 

Written by Stanley Roberts

Editor: Preston Yeung 

Camera: Stanley Roberts

Camera Steve: Steve Ducich

Camera Rental:

Security supplied by:

A guest post by
If you lived anywhere in the world chances are you’ve seen Stanley Roberts’ award-winning news segments (People Behaving Badly and Caught Misbehaving,) once a regular feature on TV in SF, is now the executive producer for Mr Badly TV