Tukwila Raids: Police Target Three Motels


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An interesting tale of sex, drugs, and cash out of the town of Tukwila, Washington: three motels were raided by hundreds of officers from the Marshal Service, ATF, FBI, and local sheriffs in what was the conclusion of a year-long investigation into all sorts of illegal activity.

Officers have said that the Boulevard Motel, Travelers Choice Motel, and Great Bear Motor Inn accounted for 17 percent of emergency calls served in Tukwila in the last two years. Five calls would have been for a coroner's wagon: three drug-filled bodies were found at the Travelers Choice over the last two years, and two were pulled from the Boulevard Motel. Exactly what kind of motels were these?

Apparently, the kind of motel where a $10 fee to your local manager gets you directed to the room containing the drugs or the sex. That same owner/manager would probably also later go to the pimp or the pusher and demand an additional fee.

Because of the wide area covered by law enforcement efforts, several people were detained and questioned who were not involved in the criminal activities; those people were released and taken to a nearby church for food and housing, while others could not go to the family-friendly environment because of their physical state (they were drunk or high) or they had a sex assault record and cannot be around such places.

The Seattle Times quoted one of the owner/managers from court documents, Kulwinder "Chris" Saroya, as telling police that average people refuse to frequent his business, so staying afloat for him means he must "do business with crackheads and prostitutes to make money." Saroya and the two other managers in question, Jaspal Singh and Lakhvir "Larry" Pawar, were arrested and charged with distributing crack cocaine.

District attorney Jenny Durkan was adamant about the raids' success: "Today we seek to hold the hotel owners accountable for their crimes, strip them of their criminal dens and make this area of the community safer," she said, while emphasizing the Department of Justice's mandate to combat "drug-involved premises."

The announcement also included an asset forfeiture notice for all three hotels and several other properties owned by the three owners. Asset forfeiture laws permit law enforcement to seize any properties believed to be purchased with funds linked to criminal enterprises.

[Image via a Youtube video of a King5 News report on the subject]