KING COUNTY, Wash. — Breadsticks and wings weren’t the only sides available at a Papa John’s in Washington state, according to local law enforcement. Until recently, an off-menu item at the pizza restaurant was cocaine.
A six-month joint investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office and the police department in Sammamish, just east of Seattle, resulted in the arrests of five people, two of whom are accused of selling drugs out of a Papa John’s.
‘Operation Extra Olives’
In December 2016, Sammamish police received a tip that Papa John’s employees were selling cocaine, according to the sheriff’s office. The workers would make the sales in the franchise’s parking lot.
Undercover detectives were sent to the Papa John’s and managed to buy drugs from two employees at four different times.
“What the detectives would do is they’d order pizza and go out and wait in the parking lot,” West said. “The employee would bring the pizza out and in the box would be the cocaine.”
Investigators dubbed it “Operation Extra Olives.”
“The operation got named because every time they’d order pizza, they’d say, ‘Give it extra olives,'” West said.
And when the Papa John’s drug dealers ran out of coke? They introduced the detectives to their friends.
“When we went to purchase (the drugs), they didn’t have any, so they sent us to another one,” West told CNN. “Then the same thing happened, so they sent us to another one.”
Residue at the register
Friday morning, detectives from the Sammamish Police Department, Bellevue Police Department and the sheriff’s office executed search warrants in Bellevue and Sammamish, including at the Papa John’s, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
Detectives ultimately found $28,000 in cash, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, Oxycodone, LSD and methamphetamine, the release said.
Two Papa John’s employees were arrested, in addition to three friends they introduced detectives to, West said.
Detectives swabbed the Papa John’s and found cocaine residue around the cash register and in employee washing areas. West said that the franchise’s managers were “very cooperative” and unaware of the transactions taking place.
“Papa John’s has zero tolerance for this type of offensive and illegal behavior,” a company spokesman said in a statement sent to CNN on Saturday. “The franchisee has confirmed that the employees involved with this situation are no longer employed and we apologize for their actions. The franchisee is working in full cooperation with local law enforcement to resolve this matter.”