City sues Town Motel in west Birmingham for illegal drug activity and violence
The City of Birmingham is suing a motel in West Birmingham, claiming there was a large number of illegal drug and violent activity there.
Officials on Wednesday announced the lawsuit against the Town Motel, located at 414 Third Ave. West. Third Avenue Hospitality, Inc., Ramsuyog, LLC and Shree Laxmi Narayan, LLC were named owners in the complaint.
The city says the owners have been told that a drug-related nuisance exists on the property and have “refused or failed to correct the ongoing problem.” A call to the motel for comment went unanswered.
Among the city’s allegations:
• The Birmingham Police Department’s Narcotics Unit served and executed search warrants on the property,
• There is an increased volume of vehicle and pedestrian traffic to and from the property,
• Multiple complaints were lodged with the city and the police regarding illegal activities on the property,
• Birmingham Police Department investigations led to arrests and seizures of illegal drugs in one room in May and another in September.
In June, the city filed a similar lawsuit against the owner of Monarch Ridge Apartments, formerly known as Valley Brook Apartments, over the high number of violent crime and other illegal activity on the property.
“We are committed to holding property owners accountable for ongoing criminal activity that poses a danger to individuals both on these properties and in the surrounding neighborhood,” said City Attorney Nicole King.
The most recent complaint cites several examples of alleged criminal activity at Town Motel.
On May 17, Birmingham detectives encountered confidential information whose past cooperation with the police resulted in the seizure of narcotics, US currency and firearms. During that meeting, the complaint says, information revealed to detectives that a reputable crack dealer who uses the Street pseudonym Fred used room 130 of the motel to distribute narcotics.
The informant was used to make a secret purchase from “Fred” and returned to the detectives with crack purchased from the dealer. He or she said he saw more crack inside the motel room.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the room, seizing 2.1 grams of crack cocaine, 1 gram of MDMA, 4.8 grams of marijuana, 2.5 grams of hydrocodone and a Ruger .45 handgun.
Two people were taken into custody.
On September 1, detectives again received a complaint about drug trafficking at the motel. Again, they sent an informant to make a secret purchase.
The informant reported to detectives that he had bought crack cocaine from a man known as “Nephew”. A search warrant was executed on September 2 and confiscated a glass pipe and marijuana. One person was arrested.
On September 13, city officials sent motel owners a notice warning them of further legal action. Authorities say they have failed to correct the persistent problem.
“Due to the defendants’ failure to reduce or correct the dangers existing on their property, the lives of nearby residents remained in danger,” the lawsuit says, “and the city of Birmingham has no other choice than to bring this legal action against the owners and the inhabitants.
In the spring of 2020, King created the City Attorney’s Office Drugs and Nuisance Team, also known as OCA-DNAT, which works through the courts to hold landowners responsible for the cleanliness of their properties and the elimination of the crime and scourge associated with nuisance problems.
The team successfully closed nine cases creating a safer environment for residents both on these properties and in the surrounding neighborhoods. They continue to study other properties. OCA-DNAT works closely with the Birmingham Police Department to identify areas where owners are not taking care of properties or providing adequate security.
Problems related to drug and nuisance properties can be reported by email to [email protected] or residents can call the internal drug and nuisance team at 205-254-2369 on weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.