Former sheriff’s sergeant pleads not guilty in barista case

EVERETT — A former Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he tipped off bikini baristas in exchange for sexual favors.

Darrell O’Neill, a deputy for 30 years, is charged with felony second-degree promotion of prostitution with aggravating factors of abuse of a position of trust and having engaged in a major economic offense. He’s also charged with two counts of official misconduct, gross misdemeanors alleging he intentionally refrained from his duty.

O’Neill allegedly warned baristas working for Java Juggs stands when their businesses were targeted by undercover officers.

He was arrested in June after repeatedly undercutting police investigating what appears to have been a highly profitable sex-for-money business at the stands, according to prosecutors.

Wearing a suit and standing beside his attorney Mark Mestel, O’Neill entered his pleas in Snohomish County Superior Court Thursday afternoon.

A trial date was set for Nov. 7 after he waived his right to a speedy trial.

O’Neill, 58, was arrested after police in Everett, Edmonds, Lynnwood and Kent raided seven espresso stands in June 2013. He later retired.

The investigation found the Java Juggs stands hired young women who have worked as strippers and escorts and “essentially operate as drive-through strip clubs or brothels,” court papers say.

The investigation focused on conspiracy to promote prostitution, money laundering and leading organized crime. According to a search warrant in the case, a key figure in the investigation is Carmela Panico, 51, described as the owner of the Java Juggs coffee huts. She’s under investigation for promoting prostitution and permitting prostitution.

O’Neill allegedly has admitted a stand worker engaged in sexually explicit shows for him and sometimes engaged with him in sex acts, according to court papers.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com

Talk to us

More in Local News

A 1.2-mile stretch of 236th Street NE near Arlington will be fully closed May 31 through Sept. 2 for a road project. (Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians)
Months-long closure ahead for 236th Street NE near Arlington

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians is widening lanes, adding a separated shared path and improving wildlife crossings.

Nate Nehring (left) and Sam Low.
Snohomish County’s LGBTQ Pride proclamation gets no GOP support

Councilmember Nate Nehring said it would violate his “personal conscience” by “celebrating particular lifestyles.”

Denny’s employee hospitalized after shooting south of Everett

A group of people was asked to leave. Someone fired a gun. A suspect was arrested.

Everett
2 teens arrested after Everett shooting, 100 mph chase

A young man was shot in the leg at an apartment near Voyager Middle School, where kids were being released for the day.

Everett
Pair identified in apparent murder-suicide in Everett

Police believe a man killed a woman, then himself. No arrests were made. No suspects were believed to be at large.

Law enforcement stand guard at the front driveway to Cascade High School as multiple agencies attempt to track down a suspect who reportedly had a firearm near campus Friday, May 27, 2022, in Everett, Washington. Dozens of concerned family members arrived to the school and stood along Casino Road waiting to find out what was happening. An airsoft pistol was recovered during a security sweep. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Apparent threat at Cascade High turned out to be airsoft gun

Two Everett schools went into lockdown Friday as police conducted security sweeps of their campuses.

Hydraulic fluid from a Waste Management garbage truck damaged roads in Mountlake Terrace June 23, 2021. The company hired crews to put absorbent material on the fluid and swept it, but several areas need to be repaired this year. (Mountlake Terrace)
Truck leak prompts 2 miles of road work in Mountlake Terrace

About 50 gallons of hydraulic fluid spilled from a Waste Management garbage truck last June.

Everett
Homicide suspect arrested in separate murder-for-hire sting

New court papers connect Selvin Rosales-Sevilla, of Mountlake Terrace, to the killing of Kevin Nieto Mejia at Ebey Island.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Bird flu comes to Snohomish County, via backyard flock

Where exactly was not immediately released. But flock owners should be vigilant to prevent further spread of the virus.

Most Read