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Barista-stand owner facing prostitution charge

Everett, Wash. (AP) -- Authorities say the owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts.

Snohomish County prosecutors charged 52-year-old former nude dancer Carmela Panico with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she was the madam of drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle.

Court documents say the baristas would expose their breasts and genitals and charge for sex acts.

The Everett Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1lliY1P ) Saturday that Panico's attorney told the court she is no longer in the coffee business and has sold off some of her stands and leased others. In a raid last year, investigators found $250,000 at Panico's home.

The investigation into Panico has also resulted in the prosecution of a veteran sheriff's sergeant. Darrell O'Neill is accused of tipping off Panico and baristas to ongoing police investigations in return for sexual favors.

 
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