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Papa John's employees busted for selling cocaine in pizza delivery boxes

Police say these items were seized in the culmination of a drug investigation in Sammamish, Wash. (King County Sheriff's Office)

SAMMAMISH, Wash. (KOMO) - Five people, including two Papa John's employees, were arrested Friday - accused of taking orders for drugs and making deliveries in pizza boxes.

The investigation called Operation Extra Olives began six months ago and spanned from Sammamish to Bellevue.

The King County Sheriff's Office said it got a tip and set up undercover detectives to make drug buys at the Papa John's location in the 700 block of 228th Avenue NE in Sammamish.

Detectives said two employees used and sold cocaine while working at the restaurant, and delivered the drugs in pizza boxes.

"We sent undercover detectives in there and, sure enough, our undercover detectives were able to establish a relationship with a couple of these drug dealers," said King County Sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West.

Early Friday morning, detectives served a warrant at the restaurant. During the search, they detected cocaine inside the shop, at the sink, and on soap dispensers and the cash register. No residue was found in food-prep areas, police said.

"You don't give it any thought. You don't think, like, 'Is my pizza going to be covered in cocaine today?' Yeah, no," said customer Victoria Edwards.

According to the sheriff's office, when the employees were out of drugs, they introduced the undercover detectives to other dealers in Sammamish and Bellevue.

Detectives from Sammamish and Bellevue police and the King County Sheriff's Office also searched locations at Bellevue and Sammamish on Friday.

Police said two men, 21 and 26 years old, were arrested in Bellevue. An 18-year-old man and 19-year-old man were arrested in Sammamish. A final suspect, an 18-year-old man from Sammamish, turned himself in later in the day.

Police also seized $28,000 in cash, a vehicle and drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, Oxycodone, LSD and methamphetamine.

Papa John's issued a statement Friday evening that read, in part, "Papa John's has zero tolerance for this type of offensive and illegal behavior. The franchise has confirmed that the employees involved with this situation are no longer employed and we apologize for their actions."

The suspects were booked into jail without bail for drug-related offenses.

King County Public Health said it will work with Papa John's on cleaning up the restaurant.

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