SALT LAKE CITY — The owner of a Salt Lake City motel and a manager at the motel are both facing felony charges in connection with an investigation of prostitution and illegal drug activity.
The charges stem from an investigation by the Utah Attorney General's Secure Strike Force and Salt Lake City Police.
According to a news release from the Attorney General's Office, 55-year-old Rezvan Saisani, who owns the motel, and 29-year-old Sameer Syed, who helped manage the motel, are facing felony charges of money laundering, maintaining a public nuisance, pattern of unlawful activity and three counts of exploiting prostitution.
The Attorney General's Office filed the charges against Saisani and Syed in the Third Judicial District Court on Tuesday.
In the summer of 2019, agents with the Attorney General's SECURE Task Force received multiple tips alleging illegal activity at the City Inn Motel, at 1025 N 900 W.
"Agents were told that fee was a minimum of $10.00 and was paid directly to [Saisani] or [Syed] by any party coming onto the City Inn property to engage in a transaction with one of the commercial sex workers residing long term at the City Inn," the charging document states.
A news release from the Attorney General's Office says undercover agents posed as commercial sex purchasers to interact with Saisani and Syed.
"Each time, Saisani and Syed collected visitor fees from the undercover agents, even when agents made it very obvious that they were only visiting the motel for illegal purposes. During one exchange, Saisani directed an undercover agent to the north side of the motel because the 'better girls' were located there," the news release said.
According to the charging document, investigators interviewed three "known and admitted" commercial sex workers who lived at the motel.
Two of them said Saisani offered them free rent in exchange for sex or sexual favors, the document states.
One of them "told investigators that [Syed] has gone so far as to unlock the door to her room and demand money from her while she is completely naked and with a client," the charging document says.
Another one accused Syed of being aggressive with female commercial sex workers.
"[Syed] has been known to throw them off the property if they refuse to perform oral sex on him," one of the commercial sex workers told investigators.
On February 6, agents served six search warrants at the motel and arrested three long-term motel residents on suspicion of drug possession and distribution.
"During the execution of those warrants, a room near the Main 5 Office area, exclusively used by SAISANI, was searched and Agents recovered condoms, lubricants, and electronics," the charging document said.
Agents also recovered numerous registration cards and registration logs, some of which indicated "V-fees" of $10 paid in cash, the document said.
Some of the motel's rooms were condemned due to methamphetamine contamination.