August 17, 2022

National City Inspectors Granted Access to Motel That Is Alleged Crime Magnet

Rodeway Inn Fire
Smoke pours from a room at the Rodeway Inn in National City in 2020. Inside the room police found a woman who had been stabbed by a pimp. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A National City hotel that is allegedly a magnet for prostitution and sex trafficking has been ordered by a judge to allow city inspectors onto the grounds because “dangerous visitors reside or visit the property regularly.”

The Rodeway Inn along Interstate 5 is described as a “nuisance property” in court documents requesting access to allow National City compliance inspectors to check out both the interior and exterior of the hotel.

The warrant was filed with San Diego Superior Court and issued by Judge Katherine Bacal.

The warrant, a copy of which the Times of San Diego recently acquired, states, “The city has ample reason to believe (and in fact knows) of multiple violations threatening the health and safety of any occupants, neighbors and the public in general.”

An elementary school is located a half mile away from the hotel property, and a middle school is a mile away.

City inspectors want to confirm the “existence and scope of 17 ongoing violations” to determine what additional legal action may be necessary to “protect the community.” 

The hotel owner has not responded to a request for comment.

The warrant details how hotel occupants and visitors were alleged to have committed serious criminal acts, including drug use, prostitution and “other criminal activity.”

The Rodeway Inn has previously been the subject of more than 315 calls for service since January 2020 regarding suspected criminal activity on the premises.

In December 2020, a woman was found with stab wounds inside a burning room, and her assailant later pleaded guilty to attempted murder, arson and pimping.

The filing also enumerates other problems, including electrical hazards, fire damage and debris of all sorts, including cannabis containers, condom wrappers, bottles and “other nuisance and unsanitary conditions.”

California Secretary of State records list the owner as Harshad Patel, and his Luv-Kush Enterprises office is located in the hotel on Roosevelt Street. 

He responded to a report last May, acknowledging an “ongoing issue” with prostitution. But Patel said at that time his hands are tied, noting that he “can’t deny entrance to someone” because that would be discrimination.

JW August is a San Diego-based broadcast and digital journalist. August has reported on sex and labor trafficking for twenty years and is a board member of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition.

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