Was it worth all the resources to shut down Snohomish County bikini barista stands?


By Kipp Robertson

Law enforcement spent countless hours working to shut down coffee stands in Snohomish County where employees were engaging in prostitution, and to make a case against an alleged corrupt sheriff’s sergeant.

Samantha Lancaster has agreed to testify against former Snohomish County Sheriff’s sergeant Darrell O’Neill, who is accused of providing information to bikini baristas about police stings in exchange for sexual favors, according to the Daily Herald.

baristas1Lancaster managed bikini barista stands for Carmela Panico, who pleaded guilty last year to promoting prostitution out of two of her stands and laundering the proceeds, the Herald reports. Panico, too, is expected to testify against O’Neill. Panico, 52, was alleged to have been running what prosecutors said amounted to drive-thru brothels. They report she made approximately $2 million in three years, and the baristas in her stands made hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But was all the effort put in to take down one corrupt sheriff’s sergeant worth the effort?

The goal seems to be to paint O’Neill as a dirty cop, KIRO Radio’s Ron Upshaw said.

Law enforcement went as far as rigging up hidden cameras and getting undercover officers to record evidence.

“You would have thought we were in ‘Ocean’s Thirteen,'” Upshaw quipped.

In the end, a string of bikini stands closed due to the investigation.

After everything that has happened, Lancaster faces eight months in prison. Panico is not allowed to open up coffee businesses in Snohomish County.

“What will happen is these women will set up shop elsewhere,” said KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill (no relation to the sergeant).

Along with receiving sexual favors with Lancaster and Panico, the former sergeant probably just did it for attention, Ron said. In fact, there are probably other law enforcement officers out there who have provided similar information to attractive bikini barista employees, he added.

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