East Texas law enforcement target motel drug crimes

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A world of crime is being discovered behind motel room doors. Nacogdoches and Angelina County law enforcement are targeting a common link between several recent meth busts. Authorities say it's highway access driving the criminals here and motel management helping keep them out.

As tourists scan motels along Highway 59, they're looking for a good deal. Authorities say criminals are after the same thing.

"They're probably going to stay at a lower place that's usually under $60 for the night," said Jason Bridges, Precinct 4 Constable. "They're coming in to do their business and get out of there."

Bridges recently broke-up a meth operation here at the Econolodge in Nacogdoches. He says drug activity is happening at motels and hotels throughout the city.

"It takes a lot of risk away them being out of their element, coming to another place where they don't feel like they're being watched," he said.

But they are being watched. Bridges says with the help of motel management, they've caught criminals in the act. He says highway access is driving drug dealers to this area.

"We're seeing more and more that Lufkin and Nacogdoches are starting to become a hub as well so people may actually be meeting at these motel rooms from another state to meet a source," said Bridges.

Down the highway, Angelina County Sheriff's Office Investigator Tom Matthews is also uncovering a world of crime behind motel room doors.

"Cooking methamphetamine, dealing drugs or prostitution or anything else in Angelina County," said Matthews.

He says they're taking great measures to end it.

"We have gone under cover here and there," he said. "We do regular motel and hotel checks. We will find out about it. It's something you're not going to get away with."

Authorities say motel managers are tired of criminals sharing space with their tourists.

"They don't want that kind of business. These places are trying to run reputable businesses for their tourists," said Matthews.

Investigators say they also rely heavily on the public for tips about crimes happening in motels and hotels.

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