MILTON, Wash. -- Citing a 40 percent increase in drug and prostitution calls to the area, Milton's city council has created a 1,000-foot zone around the Daffodil Motel on Pacific Ave., hoping to keep repeat offenders out.
The creation of SODA [Stay Out Of Drug Areas] and SOAP [Stay Out Of Areas Of Prostitution] zones comes roughly a year after Milton annexed the land from Pierce County. It means if someone is arrested on a drug or prostitution charge inside the 1,000-foot zone and then reoffends, that person faces a much stiffer penalty.
"There have been ongoing issues," said Milton police Sgt. Russ Hume, "We've been called to the Daffodil Motel for the same clients multiple times.
"When we've addressed issues with motel management," he continued, "The problem persists."
Sgt. Hume said police drive through the motel around five times a night. Police presence almost immediately forces patrons and others inside the rooms, Hume explained.
"They don't want any contact with us," he commented.
Issues at the Daffodil Motel are not new. Back in 2005, it was involved in a massive federal drug bust connected to smuggling from Canada. Several people were charged and served prison time.
One of them is the former, and current owner of the motel, Maninder Khatkar. Khatkar served an 11-and-a-half month sentence for "Misprison," but still lives with his family on-site.
Khatkar, who was in Canada Friday evening, said his business has "no problems.'
"We are strict on our property," Khatkar explained, "If we know of anything, we kick them out."
An employee who answered the phone at the Daffodil Friday evening said, "it's been cleaned up for two years," adding there are fourteen families who live on-site and, "there's been no cop for three months."
Sgt. Hume disputed those claimes.
"We're there more than any other business down in that area," he stated.