Harris County suing to shut down gas station

January 27, 2012 11:03:13 AM PST
Harris County says after getting countless calls about crime at one particular gas station, it's taking action. It is suing to have the place shut down.

The Texaco on Fannin is the gas station the county wants to shut down because it claims it's become a hot spot for illegal activity.

ABC13 Eyewitness News cameras were rolling as local police rushed to the gas station with drug sniffing dogs Thursday night. Nearby neighbors say it's a typical scene.

"It's definitely a nuisance and bothersome and asking for trouble," neighbor David Swinney said.

Swinney isn't the only one calling the Texaco a nuisance. Now, Harris County is trying to shut down the place, claiming it's been a haven for illegal drug activity and other crimes.

"It's been a long time coming," Swinney said.

The county filed a lawsuit against the land owner, Jai Kim, and Fannin Food Mart, claiming they haven't done enough to stop the problems.

According to the Harris County Attorney's Office, Houston police have received more than 200 calls for service there in the last five months, and they've made several arrests for prostitution, robberies, assaults and drugs.

"And it's just going to keep on coming until they get the place cleaned up," Swinney said.

Workers there say they hardly see the owner, and we couldn't reach him by phone. This clerk did admit one thing.

"Many cops come here," he said.

One regular customer says he believes the county's going too far trying to shut down the store. He says the illegal activities aren't the owner's fault.

"METRO, constables, everything be over here every day. Yeah, you have women out here that do that, but that was going on way before they were even over here," customer Kendall Nichols said.

The county attorney's office is asking the court to close this place for at least one year if the owner doesn't stop the illegal activity immediately.