The raids followed a year-long investigation into the Boulevard Motel, the Travelers Choice Motel and the Great Bear Motor Inn. Those three locations accounted for 17 percent of emergency calls in Tukwila in 2011 and 2012, officials said.
"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," U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a statement.
Crimes to which police responded at the three motels included rape, robbery, assault, drug transactions, gun crimes, prostitution and possession of stolen property, officials said.
In addition, three dead bodies were found in the Travelers Choice Motel between 2009 and 2013, with evidence of drug use in all three cases. Two bodies were found at the Boulevard Motel during the same period.
Authorities boarded up the motels Tuesday and arrested the owner-operators. A fourth person also was arrested.
Owners and managers of the motels would collect a $10 entry fee to people coming on the property seeking drugs or sex, according to a criminal complaint. The owners and managers would then direct the person to rooms, and in some instances the owners would collect another fee from the sex worker or dealer, authorities allege.
Residents displaced by the seized motels were offered transportation to a nearby church, where they will be offered medical and mental health services, and assistance with housing needs.
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