Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Thursday, August 26, 1999

CORNYN SUES TO SHUT DOWN KNOWN AUSTIN "DRUG HAVEN"

Action taken against Austin motel

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the filing of a civil lawsuit against the owners of the Rio Motel ( 4800 N. I.H.35). The suit was filed because of repeated illegal drug violations on the property.

"In the past 3 years, over 300 arrests have resulted from criminal violations at the Rio Motel. This motel is a haven for illegal criminal activity and today my office is taking action against the property owners," said Attorney General Cornyn. "The action taken by my office would not be possible without the efforts of the Austin Police Department. I commend them for their hard work," Cornyn added.

Of the nearly 300 arrests at the Rio Motel, 23 have resulted from illegal drug violations. The lawsuit asks the court to shut down the Rio Motel for a year unless the property owner posts a bond of $10,000. The suit also asks the court to require the property owner to pay attorneys fees to the state.

The Attorney General's office has been working with the Austin Police Department on the Rio Motel case since last fall. In the past two years, the Austin Police Department has received nearly 500 calls for service to the Rio Motel. In those nearly 500 calls for service, APD has investigated complaints of aggravated assaults, burglary, public intoxication, theft, criminal mischief and other offenses.

Texas law allows the Attorney General to file suit against properties that constitute common nuisances by virtue of repeated criminal activity. Since Attorney General Cornyn took office, 9 nuisance abatement lawsuits have been filed against different properties.

The suit filed against Liu's Family Corporation was filed in Travis County District Court and will be handled by the Civil Enforcement Section of the Attorney General's Special Crimes Division. Assistant Attorney General and Civil Enforcement Section Chief T.J. Patterson supervised the filing of the case.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050