Seattle sheriff's deputy arrested for drugs, theft, prostitution

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 19, 2014 8:36 PM

By Bryan Cohen

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A sheriff's deputy in Seattle was arrested and charged on Thursday with drug dealing, stealing from his department and acting as his wife's pimp, authorities said.

The arrest of Darrion Keith Holiwell, 49, is part of an investigation into alleged corruption and other wrongdoing at the King County Sheriff's Department and officials said it could lead to charges against other officers.

According to court documents, Holiwell used his position as a SWAT officer and firearms instructor to sell live ammunition and some 19,000 pounds of brass bullet casings stolen from the department's ranges and used the profits to run an illegal "slush fund."

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said Holiwell may have made more than $45,000 from the thefts between 2007 and 2014, which he then allegedly used to buy expensive firearms for himself and the SWAT team.

Holiwell, a 19-year-veteran of the force, has been put on paid administrative leave along with two other deputies - one accused of helping him steal from the ranges, and another who allegedly tipped him off about the internal investigation.

Urquhart criticized what he said was a culture in the department that had allowed the alleged corruption to take root.

"We still have to do more investigation," he told a news conference on Thursday. "What I don't know is how far up the chain it went."

Bail has been set at $150,000 for Holiwell, who is scheduled to make his first court appearance on July 1.

The investigation of Holiwell began last year after a sheriff's deputy told the department that Holiwell may have been physically abusing his estranged wife.

The wife later told investigators he suggested she work as a prostitute and helped her post ads with an online escort agency. Court documents say Holiwell helped his wife find clients and took 80 percent of her earnings.

It was while they were investigating the abuse and prostitution claims that officers became aware of Holiwell's scheme to sell the stolen bullet casings, Urquhart said.

The county sheriff said Holiwell also was charged with selling testosterone to a citizen, and that he also was likely selling it to members of the department.

Illegal prescription drugs, steroids and the club drug "Molly" also were found in Holiwell's home, Urquhart said.

"I am on a witch hunt to root out this type of behavior," he said.

(Reporting by Bryan Cohen; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bill Trott)