Updated: 2 days ago

LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Hyland Motel in Van Nuys seeking an injunction to curb alleged rampant drug sales, prostitution, and violent gang crime.

The lawsuit is part of a sustained and concentrated effort by Feuer and law enforcement targeting properties that allegedly are magnets for gangs, guns, narcotics and other criminal activity including abatements lawsuits filed against property owners across the city.

"Families should not have to tolerate illegal behavior in their own backyard," said Feuer. "We will seek an injunction to hold these owners accountable for their property. We need to stop the crime and take back our communities."

"Let this serve notice to business owners who are creating havens for criminal activity in our neighborhoods, we are not going to let this continue," said Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez. "We are bringing every resource available from the City to deal with this problem - an issue I have been committed to since I took office."

The lawsuit names Vimal Inc., Vimal Nanu Patel, Nanubhai M. Patel, and Lalitaben N. Patel, the owners of the Hyland Motel, an approximately 40-room motel located at 7041 Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys. The lawsuit alleges the operators have enabled criminal activity at the property by failing to implement and maintain reasonable management practices.

The Hyland Motel is allegedly used as a base from which individuals, including known gang members, store or sell narcotics from the motel rooms and parking lot. Since 2015 alone, there have been at least three dozen arrests or other violent criminal activities at or connected to the property, including the purchase of cocaine and methamphetamine on the property on three separate occasions from three different dealers within the past month. In December, LAPD officers recovered heroin, methamphetamine and narcotics packaging material from a known gang member living at the motel for at least six months, who had equipped his room with counter-surveillance equipment.

The motel allegedly is also well known as a location for prostitution and prostitution-related activity. Between January 2015 and April 2018, LAPD officers made at least a dozen arrests at or connected to the motel for prostitution-related crimes including solicitation for prostitution, loitering for prostitution, and pandering.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting narcotics and prostitution activity as well as the implementation of physical and managerial improvements to the property including: a video-monitoring system accessible by LAPD; improved lighting; a gate securing access to the parking lot; improved guest screening and registering procedures; hiring armed and licensed security guards present 24-hours a day; posting notices about human trafficking; and prohibiting known gang members and those previously arrested at the property from gaining access.

The lawsuit also seeks an order requiring the owners to reside in the motel until all alleged gang and prostitution nuisance activity is significantly abated.

Since July 2013, City Attorney Feuer’s Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program has filed 103 actions similar to this and obtained 137 injunctions requiring comprehensive physical and managerial improvements to nuisance properties. In this same time period, the office has also successfully secured the closure of 16 gang/narcotics locations and recovered $1.8 million in costs and fees.

Feuer has also established an easy-to-use online method through which residents may report properties with gang and/or narcotics activity in their neighborhoods. He's asking residents to report these properties online or by calling his office at (213) 978-8340. All reports may be made anonymously.