Lynnwood bikini barista stand raided by police

MyNNNScarlett’s Coffee Company in Lynnwood was one of seven bikini barista stands raided by law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions Tuesday as part of an extensive criminal investigation in which police allege that several latte stands were being used to promote prostitution and lewd conduct.

In addition to seven latte stands, a residence also was targeted. One of the latte stands raided was Java Juggs, which includes a location on Highway 99 and 212th Street Southwest in Edmonds.

Everett Police spokesman Officer Aaron Snell confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the owner of the Java Juggs, Carmela A. Panico of Snohomish, was arrested as part of the raid that also involved the arrest of a Snohomish County Sheriff’s officer.

Sgt. Darrell O’Neill, a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was arrested by the Everett Police Department for conspiracy to promote prostitution and official misconduct. O’Neill was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest and his law enforcement authority was suspended, Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

In March, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a local law enforcement agency of possible criminal activities being conducted by a Sheriff’s Office commissioned officer.  Upon learning of the allegations, Sheriff’s Office administration immediately contacted the Everett Police Department and requested a criminal investigation.

The initial investigation began in October of 2012 when the Kent Police Department investigated complaints of lewd conduct at a latte stand. Several baristas were identified and arrested for prostitution and lewd conduct.  At that time, the seven latte stands were linked to Panico.

During the investigation, a barista told detectives that a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office sergeant had engaged in inappropriate behavior while on the job and was providing information about ongoing undercover investigations targeting the latte stands. The Kent Police Department notified the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office of the allegations and they immediately requested the Everett Police Department conduct a criminal investigation.

Everett detectives examined information, conducted undercover surveillance and interviewed baristas. The Everett Police Department’s investigation led to today’s arrests and search warrants at the seven latte stands.

The Sheriff’s Office of Professional Accountability will begin an internal investigation on the alleged activities of O’Neill when the criminal investigation is completed by Everett Police Department detectives, Ireton said.

As part of the ongoing investigation, detectives will contact customers who have been identified via surveillance engaging in prostitution and illegal activity.  Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding these cases to contact the Everett Police Department TIP LINE at 425-257-8450.

Our news partner, The Seattle Times, has additional details here.


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