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Kent drive-through coffee stand triggers Everett prostitution sting

An investigation into lewd conduct at a Kent drive-through coffee stand led to an Everett Police prostitution sting Tuesday of latte stands in Snohomish County.

In fact, the criminal investigation, which included the FBI, began last October when the Kent Police responded to public complaints about lewd contact by baristas at the Twin Peaks Espresso, a drive-through coffee stand at 24013 104th Ave. S.E.

Law enforcement officials on Tuesday served search warrants on eight locations, five in Snohomish County and one each in Kent, Everett and Edmonds, and made eight arrests, according to an Everett Police media release. One raid was at a home. The raids included the Twin Peaks Espresso stand in Kent.

"We were actually only assisting Everett Police," said Kent Police spokeswoman Melanie Frazier in a Thursday email about the recent arrests. "Kent Police did not make any arrests. It is unknown if there will be future arrests related to the case. To my knowledge, Kent Police are no longer involved, it has been turned over to Everett Police."

Everett Police said the coffee stands were used to promote prostitution and lewd conduct. Police arrested a 51-year-old woman, who owns seven of the stands, for investigation of conspiracy to promote prostitution and permitting prostitution. She was booked into the Snohomish County Jail.

Officers also arrested a 22 year-old Shoreline woman for investigation of prostitution and conspiracy to promote prostitution. The woman reportedly managed the coffee stands.

Numerous female baristas working at the seven latte stands were contacted and detained during the raids. Charges will likely be referred on several of them to the applicable prosecutors office, according to Everett Police. As the investigation continues, more arrests and charges may occur.

Law officials also arrested a 30-year veteran sergeant with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) for investigation of conspiracy to promote prostitution and official misconduct.

The initial investigation began in October 2012 when Kent Police investigated complaints of lewd conduct at the Twin Peaks Espresso latte stand.  Several baristas were identified and arrested in February for prostitution and lewd conduct. At that time, the seven latte stands were linked to the same owner.

During the investigation, a barista told Kent detectives that a SCSO sergeant had engaged in inappropriate behavior while on the job and was providing information about ongoing undercover investigations targeting the latte stands. Kent Police notified the SCSO of the allegations and they immediately requested the Everett Police to conduct a criminal investigation.

Everett detectives examined information, conducted undercover surveillance and interviewed baristas that led to the recent arrests.

As part of the ongoing investigation, detectives will contact customers who have been identified via surveillance engaging in prostitution and illegal activity.

Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding these cases to contact the Everett Police tip line at 425-257-8450.

In addition to the Kent location, the latte stand raids were at 8015 Broadway Ave., Everett; 11323 Highway 99, Everett; 11701 Highway 99, Everett;  12803 Highway 99, Everett; 15315 Highway 99, Lynnwood; and 21208 Highway 99, Edmonds.

Kent Police made two arrests in February after detectives with the department's Special Investigation Unit looked into reports of female employees exposing themselves and committing lewd acts for drive-up customers. Payment for these acts came in the form of tips paid for the coffee beverages and ranged from $10 to $25, police said.

Undercover investigators used site surveillance and drive-up contacts to build their case, identifying a number of baristas who reportedly engaged in the illicit behavior.

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