Owner of bikini barista stands in prostitution sting back in jail

EVERETT, Wash. — The embattled owner of seven bikini barista stands who was arrested on prostitution-related charges in June is under arrest again.

Everett police officers arrested Carmela A. Panico Thursday afternoon and booked her into the Snohomish County Jail on three counts of tampering with a witness and one count of intimidating a witness.

Panico is the owner of coffee stands Java Juggs, Twin Peaks, Bella Butterscotch and The Hot Spot in Everett, Edmonds, Kent and unincorporated Snohomish County.

Since June Everett police detectives have continued investigating Panico and her associates by conducting interviews and examining evidence collected during search warrant seizures.

More than 100 baristas, either current or former employees of Panico, were identified.  Many baristas were contacted and interviewed by Everett detectives.

During interviews detectives discovered that Panico pressured potential witnesses to not cooperate with police and falsely said they were being represented by an attorney, according to Everett police. Authorities said Panico also singled out one potential witness and pressured her to change statements made to police.

Police said the evidence and testimony established probable cause to arrest Panico.

In June, Panico was one of several people arrested during a sting on her coffee stands.  Authorities alleged the stands were being used to promote prostitution and lewd conduct.

See photos of the June 25 bust here.

Also arrested in June was a 30 year veteran sergeant with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office on charges of conspiracy to promote prostitution and misconduct.

Police said the investigation into Panico’s operations is ongoing for alleged prostitution and other crimes.

Previous story:

Sheriff's sergeant arrested in bikini barista investigation (June 25, 2013)

VIDEO: Owner of bikini barista stands arrested for prostitution (June 25, 2013)

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