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Drug cops: Employees sold more than pizza at Papa John’s in Sammamish

UPDATED: Sat., June 3, 2017, 9:36 p.m.

Papa John's Founder and CEO John Schnatter heads off on a Road Trip across the country in search of the 1972 Camaro Z28 he sold 25 years ago to start the business. Papa John's now has more than 3,400 restaurants in all 50 states and 29 countries. (Photo: Business Wire) (Papa John's International, Inc.)
Papa John's Founder and CEO John Schnatter heads off on a Road Trip across the country in search of the 1972 Camaro Z28 he sold 25 years ago to start the business. Papa John's now has more than 3,400 restaurants in all 50 states and 29 countries. (Photo: Business Wire) (Papa John's International, Inc.)

Cocaine residue was found on the cash register and other surfaces inside the Papa John’s Pizza in Sammamish on Friday after detectives arrested five employees on felony drug charges following a months-long investigation, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

In December, someone tipped off the Sammamish Police Department that employees of the takeout-and-delivery pizza chain were selling drugs at work and using the Papa John’s parking lot to complete drug transactions, according to a Friday news release issued by sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West.

Undercover detectives were sent to the business at 721 228th Ave. N.E. as part of an investigation dubbed “Operation Extra Olives,” West wrote. They managed to buy drugs from two employees; one employee eventually introduced a detective to other drug dealers in Sammamish and Bellevue, and detectives were able to buy drugs from those dealers, too, according to West.

Around 6 a.m. Friday, sheriff’s officials along with members of the Sammamish and Bellevue police departments executed four search warrants and arrested four employees, ages 18 to 26, the news release said. A fifth suspect, an 18-year-old, turned himself in to Sammamish police later in the day, the release said.

The search warrants were served at residences in the 15100 block of Southeast Newport Way in Bellevue and in the 100 block of 242nd Way Southeast and the 1500 block of 204th Avenue Northeast, both in Sammamish, as well as at the Sammamish Papa John’s location, according to the release.

Detectives seized $28,000 in cash, a vehicle and a veritable smorgasbord of drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, oxycodone, LSD and methamphetamine, the release said.

At Papa John’s, detectives swabbed a variety of surfaces to test for drugs and found cocaine residue on the cash register and “sanitary wash areas” inside the business, West wrote.

Public-health officials were called in and worked with Papa John’s on cleanup procedures, the release said. Sammamish police detectives later re-swabbed food-preparation areas and found no cocaine contamination, it said.


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