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Claiborne hotel closed by police

The Dixie Plaza Hotel, located on U.S. 25E in Tazewell, was shut down today due to a nuisance ordinance carried out by the police as a result of an ongoing investigation concerning drugs and other criminal activity.

Lt. Jeremy Myers, the criminal investigator for the city of Tazewell, stated that since 2012, the Tazewell Police Department had answered over 500 calls to the hotel since 2012.

“We’re a six-man police department. That’s a drain on resources. The extent of the calls were anything from drug busts, disturbances, fights — anything in that nature…we feel like it’s a step in a positive direction for the police department and the community,” said Myers.

Myers also stated that there were 20 to 25 rooms being shut down by police. The doors are bolted shut and the windows are covered with plywood.

The official temporary injunction/restraining order states that “It is therefore ordered, adjourned, and decreed that any peace officer in this county make entry into the premises, may search and secure the premises, may lock the premises so as to disallow entry, and may post visible signage and notice that the property is closed in all respects, and no person, without the approval of this Court or peace officers seeking to enforce this Order, shall go onto the premises.”

“We’re seizing the property at this point until the judge decides otherwise,” said Myers.

The hotel and property are owned by Ashok Gupta, Bogumila Sayani and Mansoor Sayani, also known as Johnny Sayani, according to the court order.

Myers went on to say that he hopes this will slow down some of the drug activity in the area.

“This place is known to the police department and the community, generally speaking, as a drug location. We’ve had a lot of issues here…just a few weeks ago we got two to two-and-a-half pounds of crystal meth out this location…this is part of our problem with opioid abuse in this community and the Tri-State area. This is a central location. People can come here, you can hit three states and deal your drugs. We’re over it. Absolutely over it. The way we feel is that if we can make a step in the right direction and start closing the places down, we’re sending a message.”

The Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the New Tazwell Police Department were all on the scene.