When people think of Papa John’s, they think of cheap pizza, wings, and breadsticks. However, for the local patrons of a Papa John’s in Washington, the menu wasn’t exclusively just for food.

According to authorities working on the joint investigation, employees of the franchise were selling cocaine on the restaurant’s premises and may have also been selling other drugs as well. Five people were arrested including two employees and three of their associates.

The Investigation

Beginning in December of last year, a six-month long joint investigation including the Sammamish Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office began when Sammamish police received word that Papa John’s employees were selling cocaine in the restaurant’s parking lot.

This prompted law enforcement to send undercover detectives to the aforementioned pizza restaurant in which the detectives were able to buy drugs from two employees four different times.

According to Sgt. Cindi West, spokeswoman for King County Sheriff’s Office, the detectives would order pizza while also asking for “extra olives” and then wait in the parking lot. The employee would then bring a box with the pizza and the cocaine. Because of this, all of the local law enforcement agencies working on the investigation decided to name it “Operation Extra Olives”.


Yesterday morning, detectives from the Sammamish Police Department, Bellevue Police Department, and the King County Sheriff’s Office executed search warrants in Sammamish, Bellevue, and the Papa John’s.

The search resulted in the finding of $28,000, as well as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, Oxycodone, and methamphetamine. The subsequent arrests of two employees and three of their friends who may have been their suppliers were soon followed.

The incident has left the pizza restaurant franchise in a severe state of embarrassment which prompted them to release an official statement apologizing for this incident as well as mention they’re fully cooperating with local law enforcement.

It is unknown at this time if this is just an isolated incident or if there are other Papa John’s restaurants as well as other restaurant chains connected to this potential drug ring, unlikely as it may be.

On a side note, it’s pretty difficult not to think of the infamous drug front Pollos Hermanos from the wildly popular shows ‘Breaking Bad’ and the spin-off 'Better Call Saul' when reading about this incident. Hopefully for Papa John’s, this will be the only case the two restaurant chains share any similarities.