Motel owner wins fight to stop forfeiture
BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man has won a court battle to keep federal authorities from seizing his motel because of alleged drug dealing by some guests.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein dismissed the government’s move to place Russell Caswell’s motel in Tewksbury in civil forfeiture. Dein said in a written decision Thursday the government didn’t prove he failed to reasonably deter crimes on his property. She also noted it was never alleged that Caswell, family members or people under his control had been involved in any drug activity.
The judge said the government introduced evidence about 15 drug-related incidents between 1994 and 2008, when the motel rented about 196,000 rooms.
Caswell and his lawyers said every budget motel has a certain number of guests who commit crimes, and he has always tried to discourage it, and to work with police.