October 22, 2013 at 2:05 PM
Owners of 2 Tukwila motels plead guilty to federal drug charges
Two owners and managers of crime-plagued Tukwila motels pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In their plea agreements, Jaspal Singh, 37, and Kulwinder Saroya, 42, both of SeaTac, admitted they profited from drug dealing they allowed at the Travelers Choice Motel and Great Bear Motor Inn, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Singh and Saroya admitted they would collect or would direct their staff to collect a $10 entry fee for people who came to their motels seeking drugs or sexual services. The men would take the money and direct the customer to rooms to purchase drugs or sex.
Under the plea agreement, Singh and Saroya agreed to forfeit the two motels, their home in SeaTac, more than $265,000 seized from their home and bank accounts and a 2007 Mercedes-Benz.
Last week, the manager of a third Tukwila motel, The Boulevard Motel, also pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Lakhvir Pawar, 41, of Burien, will forfeit his interest in the motel and about $90,000 seized in August when the motel and the two others were raided and shut down by federal authorities.
A federal criminal complaint unsealed after the raids charged the three men with distribution and attempted 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.
Tukwila police said that during the past two years, the motels — within two blocks of one another — accounted for nearly one in six calls for service to the police department. The motels have been the scenes of rapes, assaults, drug dealing, prostitution and at least three overdose deaths in recent years, according to court documents.
“Since we shut these motels, the number of police calls to the immediate area has dropped by one-third,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said today in a news release.
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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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