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Bikini baristas

There are a number of coffee stands scattered throughout the area that offer a little “extra” with your coffee. While most of the businesses stay within the confines of the law, a few have run into trouble.

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This story has 7 updates

bikini baristaEVERETT — Three baristas at the Hillbilly Hotties coffee stand in Everett were arrested Wednesday after police received complaints about alleged illegal activities, the Everett police said.

Just after 11 a.m., police served a search warrant on the stand in the 4000 block of Hoyt Avenue and arrested three baristas.

Two baristas — a 20-year-old from Lynnwood and a 21-year-old from Shoreline, will be charged with violating Everett’s adult cabaret law, police said. The third barista, a 33-year-old from Lynnwood, will be charged for lewd conduct, police said, which stemmed from a different investigation.

“The investigation was initiated by citizen complaints after they observed and reported illegal activities at the stand, which is located along a busy roadway,” the police statement said.

Police added that the Hillbilly Hotties was recently robbed by a 12-year-old boy.

java juggsEVERETT — The owner of bikina barista coffee stands who is under investigation for allegedly using her drive-thrus as prostitution fronts has filed suit against the city and the police chief, demanding police return $250,000 they seized from her home in June.

The Everett Herald reported that Carmela Panico, 51, owner of Java Juggs and Twin Peaks coffee stands, recently filed suit alleging detectives wrongfully seized  $250,000 and a 2012 Ford Expedition from her Snohomish home during their investigation.

The Herald said the lawsuit was filed after city officials notified Panico they planned to keep the cash, alleging it was proceeds from criminal activity, including money laundering.

Panico was arrested in June for allegedly promoting prostitution at her espresso stands.

No charges have been filed against anyone in the case.

Police investigators  told the Herald that Panico bought seven espresso stands in the last five years and an eighth stand in the last few weeks – and that she is still under investigation.

java juggsEVERETT — A Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant arrested for allegedly conspiring to promote prostitution at bikini barista stands has resigned from the sheriff’s office, it was announced Tuesday.

Sgt. Darrell O’Neill, 58, a 30-year veteran of the force, had been placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest by Everett police on June 25. He was  held for conspiracy to promote prostitution and official misconduct.

O’Neill was accused of tipping off bikini baristas who may have been engaged in prostitution to undercover police operations.

Any criminal charges as a result of that investigation will be filed by the Snohomish County prosecutor’s office, the sheriff’s office said, adding that it was ending its internal investigation of O’Neill with his resignation.

The sheriff’s office spokeswoman said O’Neill will keep his pension by resigning.

SEATTLE – Everett police served search warrants at eight Java Juggs and Twin Peaks coffee stands Tuesday and arrested a Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant, a 30-year veteran of the force, who they allege was tipping off baristas to undercover police operations.

java juggsSgt. Darrell O’Neill, 58, was on duty when he was taken into custody. He is being held for conspiracy to promote prostitution and official misconduct.

The 51-year-old owner of the coffee stands and a 22-year-old manager were also arrested. The owner was arrested for conspiracy to promote prostitution and permitting prostitution; the manager was arrested for prostitution and conspiracy to promote prostitution.

In all, seven women ages 21 to 24 were detained and could face charges for lewd conduct and prostitution.

According to court documents, customers would frequently purchase coffee and said the barista could keep the change for a “show.” The baristas then allegedly exposed themselves, or simulated a sex act, while in the coffee stand. Police allegedly documented baristas sticking bare body parts out of the coffee shop windows. The 22-year-old manager was reportedly caught on video tape performing sex acts for men in the back of her car outside the coffee stand after hours.

Court documents also showed the owner would frequently hire workers with a “dancer’s” history, and many with a “pornographic background.”  She also allegedly rewarded the “dirty” baristas with more work hours and time at the busier coffee stands.

The owner made approximately $1.5 million in income last year, court records show.

O’Neill, the Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant, is accused of having sex with the owner and a manager inside one of the stands while he was in full uniform and on duty.

In court documents, detectives say they have seen video of O’Neill hugging and kissing the baristas while in uniform and never buying a cup of coffee.  One barista told investigators she would get texts from the owner warning them about undercover investigations, information alleged to have come from O’Neill in exchange for sex.

Everett Deputy Police Chief Dan Templeman said, “Anytime we become aware of a law enforcement officer who breaches the trust of the community, and the trust of those of us that are working in this profession, we’re going to take very swift action and that’s what we’ve done in this case.”

Investigators said O’Neill’s name first surfaced last October when officers in Kent investigated complaints about naughty baristas.  One of those baristas told investigators about the “sheriff” who was helping the stands in Edmonds and Everett keep from getting busted.

Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said of O’Neill: “He`s been placed on administrative (leave) and, as soon as the criminal investigation is completed, we will begin an internal investigation. We hope to go through that  process as quickly as possible.”

O’Neill was being booked into the Marysville Jail.



EVERETT — The owner of the Grab-N-Go coffee stands has been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, because one of the females busted at the stands for alleged lewd conduct was 16 years old.

The Everett Herald reported Monday that Snohomish County prosecutors late last week filed the charge against Bill Dwayne Wheeler Jr., 29.

Police in February arrested four baristas in the case, city officials said. They were accused of giving “peep shows” to customers for high tips.  The baristas, in their teens and 20s, all were released while the investigation continues.

According to the Herald, prosecutors contend that Wheeler knew the 16-year-old bariata was flashing customers for tips.

baristaEVERETT — One of three baristas arrested for allegedly exposing themselves to customers for tips at Grab-N-Go coffee stands in Everett is 16 years old, police said Thursday.

“There was an exchange of money but there wasn’t any exchange of product or goods as far as coffee goes,” Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.  “It’s always a concern when there are minors involved in different types of crime, especially in a crime that’s similar or like this.”

Police said detectives began a two-month investigation at two Grab-N-Go locations on Broadway Avenue and SW Everett Mall Way after several people called and complained about what they had witnessed. Police arrested three baristas on Wednesday.

Bill Wheeler, the owner of the two coffee shops, said Thursday he is being harassed by the police.

“This is kind of weird, going out of your way, doing a sting operation, spending mine and your (tax) money and everyone else’s money trying to sweet talk the ladies,” Wheeler said.

Four years ago, angry residents voiced concerns at an Everett City Council meeting regarding Wheeler’s coffee stands. He said lewd acts are not on the menu. His is like any other legitimate business

“They (employees have) got to watch how they dress, the way they act, how they treat people,” Wheeler said.

Police say they have evidence that some baristas violated Everett’s Adult Cabaret law, and future arrests are possible.



EVERETT, Wash. — Police arrested three baristas at two Grab-N-Go coffee stands in the city Wednesday for allegedly offering more than just lattes to drivers.

The Everett Police Department said in a news release that the employees were putting on “exhibition and exposure” shows.

Police said the arrests were made after a two-month investigation.

“Citizens complained that these locations served more than just coffee,” said Everett police Lt. James Duffy. “Indeed, our investigation uncovered exhibition and exposure which is outside the confines of the law. During the investigation, video surveillance showed that at times coffee or drinks were not served, but shows were paid for and given.”

Just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Everett detectives arrested three baristas at two separate Grab-N-Go locations for allegedly violating Everett’s Adult Cabaret law.

Four years ago, when there was a similar complaint, one parent described the problem like this: “Twenty years ago, who would have thought we’d be addressing an issue of women selling, pretending to sell coffee, but not really selling coffee, selling a lot more than coffee. It’s basically a drive-thru strip club.”

Kassi Carlson got a job at one of the Grab-N-Go just a week ago. She said she’s never seen illegal activity but was warned she might be propositioned.

“One of my girls who got me the job here. She was, like, don’t do any of that stuff,” Carlson said. “People might ask, but don’t do any of that.”

Q13 Fox News shot undercover video at Grab-N-Go four years ago. Clearly, baristas were engaged in illegal activity and were later arrested.

Grab-N-Go owner Bill Wheeler said all of his baristas are warned that one strike and they’re out.

“We’re pretty clear on our policy,” he said. “If they break any laws or anything like that, we just let them go on the spot. They know that from the day they are hired. We constantly remind them, no drugs, no lewd acts.”

Everett police say their investigation is ongoing.