TOMS RIVER - Township police take aim at the Red Carpet Inn, the downtown motel where 15 drug suspects were corralled in September. If a conviction is reached on a public-nuisance charge filed today, it might be shuttered for up to a year.

Red Carpet Inn, Toms River (Tom Mongelli, Townsquare Media)

The charge is filed under a law that "prohibits maintaining a nuisance, either by knowingly conducting or maintaining any premises where unlawful activity takes place, or by creating a condition which endangers public health or safety," according to information issued by township officials this morning.

The corporate owner, 2 West Water LLC, and its managing member, Kartik Patel, are identified in the complaint. Police claim that there have been at least 750 incidents requiring their response since 2015, many involving drugs, weapons, and thefts.

The September arrests of 11 men and four women were precipitated by resident complaints and alleged open-air deals.

"Improving the quality of life for our residents by combating nuisance properties and their owners is a priority in our town," Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher said in prepared remarks.

"We will continue to hold negligent property owners responsible for contributing to crime and illegal activity by not maintaining safe and acceptable environments."

An inquiry for comment from Red Carpet Inn's

(l-r) Toms River PD Chief Mitch Little, Twp. Council Pres. Al Manforti, Mayor Tom Kelaher (courtesy Toms River Twp.)

parent company, Georgia-based Hospitality International, has so far elicited no response.

According to Toms River Council President Al Manforti, who represents Ward 4 in which the motel sits, the investigation by the recently-formed Quality Of Life Task Force has evolved over several months.

The task force combines elements of the Criminal Investigative Bureau, Special Enforcement Team, Division of Fire Prevention, and the Code Enforcement-Zoning Department.

"It is clear this property owner has an inability to operate a responsible business as this property has become a magnet for criminal activity," Police Chief Mitch Little added.

"Through combined efforts with our newly formed Quality of Life Task Force, we will hold property owners accountable for creating a public nuisance."

The motel previously operated as the TP Hotel and Red Roof Inn. According to njparcels.com, the property changed hands in December 2015 for $2,250,000, with land and building assessed at $3,750,000 in value, and pays $91,425 in annual taxes.

Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.

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