FIRST ON KIRO 7: Sheriff's sergeant arrested in bikini barista investigation

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

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A Snohomish County sheriff's sergeant was arrested Tuesday after police said he had sex with a bikini barista coffee shop owner and manager in exchange for tipping the women to a police investigation.

KIRO 7 was the first to report the details about Darrell O'Neill, a 30-year veteran investigated 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. 

"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," Sheriff's spokeswoman Shari Ireton said in a statement. "Upon learning of the allegations, Sheriff's Office administration immediately contacted Everett PD and requested a criminal investigation."

Ireton said the Sheriff's Office of Professional Accountability is expected to begin an internal investigation on O'Neill when the criminal investigation is complete. Charges have not been filed.

The owner of Java Juggs, who was arrested for similar activity in 2011, was also booked, police tell KIRO 7. Overall, seven barista stands are being busted Tuesday in Kent, Everett, Edmonds and other parts of Snohomish County. Other stands include The Hot Spot and Bella Butterscotch.

Everett police said the investigation was a multijurisdictional effort for stopping prostitution and lewd contact.

The owner of three Java Juggs bikini espresso stands was arrested in July 2011 during a prostitution investigation. Police said they launched an investigation into the Edmonds and Everett stands the previous fall after officers received several complaints about baristas exposing themselves to customers. 

Plainclothes officers posed as customers and gathered video evidence of employees exposing themselves in exchange for large tips, police said. There were also reports of physical contact with the baristas in exchange for money.

The owner of the stands, a 49-year-old Snohomish woman, has been charged with three counts of prostitution and one count of permitting prostitution. Police also investigated three employees, and in a separate investigation earlier this year, a 19-year-old Java Juggs employee was charged with violating Kent's adult entertainment ordinance.