October 18, 2013 at 10:28 AM
Manager pleads guilty to profiting from drug dealing at Tukwila motel
The manager of a Tukwila motel pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to maintaining a drug-involved premises.
Lakhvir Pawar, 41, of Burien, admitted to profiting from dozens of drug sales at The Boulevard Motel on International Boulevard, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Pawar will forfeit his interest in the motel and in about $90,000 seized in August when the motel and two others were raided and shut down by federal authorities.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between 2007 and 2013, there were 33 drug-related incidents, 27 assaults and 11 robberies at The Boulevard Motel.
The August raids involved about 200 officers and targeted the Great Bear Motor Inn and the Traveler’s Choice, in addition to The Boulevard Motel.
A federal criminal complaint unsealed after the raids charged seven people –including the managers and owners of the three motels — with attempted distribution and distribution of crack cocaine. According to the charges, a paid undercover informant purchased cocaine in deals set up with motel residents by the motel managers.
The complaint identified three of the defendants as Pawar, Jaspal Singh and and Kulwinder Saroya, who federal prosecutors say ran and owned the three motels.
In addition, a detailed, 48-page civil complaint filed in U.S. District Court seeks to forfeit the properties as proceeds from illegal transactions, including drug dealing and money laundering.
The complaint says that the hotels have been the focus of an inordinate amount of crime and calls for police. It states that the problems date back several years, however during 2011 and 2012, almost one of every six calls for service to Tukwila Police Department were to those three motels. “The crimes for which police responded to the Target Motels include, among others: rape, robbery, assault, drug transaction, gun crimes, prostitution and stolen property,” the civil complaint says.
“The investigation revealed that the owners of the properties are engaged in, encouraging and making significant cash profits from criminal activity at the Target Motels,” wrote Special Agent Joe Miller of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in a sworn affidavit.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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