As many as 400 law enforcement officials have seized and shut down three motels along International Boulevard in Tukwila. (KIRO Radio Photo/Chris Sullivan)

Three Tukwila motels seized, four people arrested in raids

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As many as 400 law enforcement officials have seized and shut down three motels along International Boulevard in Tukwila.

U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said four people were arrested in connection with ongoing criminal activity at the motels, including three owner-operators.

According to Tukwila Police Commander Eric Drever, it appears the owners of three motels, The Great Bear Motor Inn, Boulevard Motel and Travelers Choice Motel, were behind a series of serious crime rings.

"Definitively, we've been looking at prostitution and drugs, however, there are other crimes that are associated [with those crimes,]" says Drever.

In fact, Durkan said between 2011 and 2012, said 17 percent of the calls the Tukwila Police Department responded to were related to the three motels. There were reports of rape, robbery, assault, drug transactions, gun crimes, prostitution, and possession of stolen property.

"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," said Durkan.

According to the complaint of forfeiture, undercover officers revealed that the motel owners and managers collected a $10 entry free for customers seeking drugs or sexual services. They'd point them to the appropriate room and give the dealer or prostitute a warning about a potential customer.

Several hundred agents and officers helped residents pack and move out. Displaced motel guests, who aren't involved in the crimes, were offered transportation to a nearby church and offered government assistance.

Two lanes of International Boulevard were shut down while police conducted the raids and helped motel guests move.

Several neighborhood residents have been asking the city to do something about the crime in this area for years. Durkan said the three motels have consistently had a high number of police calls in the past seven years. The Great Bear Motor Inn has been cited as a nuisance property and the other two have been sent warning letters.

KIRO Radio's Chris Sullivan and's Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report., Staff report
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