Owners and Operators of Crime-Riddled Motels Plead Guilty and Forfeit Properties, Car, and More Than $265,000
Four South King County Properties to be Sold by U.S. Marshals Service
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 22, 2013|
The final two owners and managers of crime-infested motels in Tukwila, Washington pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. In their plea agreements, Jaspal Singh, 37, and Kulwinder Saroya, 42, both of SeaTac, Washington, admit they knowingly operated drug-involved premises at the Travelers Choice Motel and Great Bear Motor Inn and profited from the drug activity there. The men agree 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. Today’s pleas mean that all three motels shuttered and seized by federal agents in August 2013 will be sold by the U.S. Marshals Service.
“We will use all of our tools to seize criminal proceeds, protect the public, and hold people accountable. Since we shut these motels, the number of police calls to the immediate area has dropped by one-third,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “These defendants profited by knowingly operating motels that were a blight on the community, creating an unsafe environment, and soaking up police resources to the detriment of the community. It is fully appropriate that this prosecution take the profit out of these criminal activities.”
Last week, a third defendant, Lakhvir Pawar, 41, the manager of the Boulevard Motel on Tukwila International Boulevard, pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit any interest in that motel as well as more than $90,000 he accumulated from the criminal activity. All three men will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on February 28, 2014. The government has agreed to recommend no more than a year in prison for each defendant, but the judge is free to impose any sentence up to the maximum 20 years allowed by law.
According to records filed to seize the motels, the Tukwila Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) jointly-led investigation used undercover officers and people working with law enforcement to document criminal activity at the motels and the role the owners and managers played in that activity. Saroya and Singh admitted they would collect or would direct their staff to collect a $10 entry fee for those coming on the property seeking drugs or sexual services. The owners and/or managers would take the money and direct the customer to rooms to purchase drugs or sex. In some instances the person taking the fee would call the motel room to inform the dealer or sex worker that a customer was on the way. Saroya and Singh admitted today that they collected additional rental fees from the dealer or sex worker based on how many customers were sent to the room over the course of the day.
The investigation, search and seizure operation today was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Tukwila Police Department. Many additional agencies assisted the investigation including the U.S. Marshals Service; Department of Homeland Security; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; Washington State Patrol; Seattle, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, and Port of Seattle Police Departments; Valley SWAT Team; King County Sheriff’s Office; Washington State Department of Corrections; and Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Arnold, Jill Otake, and Richard Cohen.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.