WA deputy accused of helping wife prostitute

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 20 at 10:42 AM

SEATTLE -- An elite member of the King County SWAT team was arrested Thursday morning for allegedly helping his wife work as a prostitute.

Darrion Keith Holiwell was booked into King County Jail Thursday morning.  He has been charged with one count of second-degree promoting prostitution, one count of first degree theft and one count of violation of the uniform controlled substance act.

The 49-year-old deputy has been with the King County Sheriff’s Office for 19 years and is a member of the SWAT team. He is also the lead firearms instructor for the sheriff's office.

Authorities say Holiwell knowingly advanced and profited from the prostitution of his wife last year. According to King County Sheriff John Urquhart, Holiwell's wife claims she was physically abused by him and pushed into prostitution.  Urquhart also said Holiwell was believed to be taking 80 percent of the money his wife brought in through the escorting service he helped set up.

Urquhart alleges Holiwell also took 19,000 pounds of brass from county gun ranges and sold them to private gun shops. Urquhart said $45,000 worth of brass and bullets were sold to gun shops and used to buy and trade equipment for the SWAT team.

KING 5 went to Wade's Eastside Guns, Rainier Arms, and West Coast Armory in Bellevue - the three gunshops named in court documents. 

The staff at West Coast Armory defended Holiwell, saying he was not profiting personally from those sales, and was simply using the money and credit earned to buy better equipment for the SWAT team.

Urquhart said that doesn't make it any less illegal.

Urquhart said Holiwell is also under investigation for allegedly using and distributing steroids, possibly inside the sheriff's office.

"What we're dealing here is police corruption. Yeah, it's Seattle style. We're not talking L.A. or back east or anything like that, but to a certain extent, it is police corruption," said Urquhart.

Urquhart said he brought in the FBI because it is a public corruption case, but handled it internally because it is "our mess and we will clean it up."

Holiwell was put on administrative leave in April, while he was investigated for allegedly helped his wife promote herself as an escort, advertising on Seattle.backpage.com.

Two other deputies were put on administrative in April in connection with the case. Urquhart didn't know if they will face any criminal charges.

The arrest occurred at the King County Courthouse after the deputy was asked to come into the sheriff’s office in connection with a two-month investigation. He did not know he was going to be arrested, according to sources.

Related: Report: King Co. deputy accused of helping wife work as prostitute

Urquhart said his office became aware of Holiwell's activities after Holiwell's current wife contacted Holiwell's former wife to find out if there had been violence in their marriage.

During their conversation, Holiwell's current wife admitted to physical abuse in their marriage and revealed details of their prostitution activities. According to divorce papers filed, Holiwell's wife said he "pulled his gun on me" and would "put me in a choke hold" or "pushed my face into the bed where I couldn't breathe."  The papers said the incidents occurred when Holiwell was drinking or using cocaine, but he became "especially violent while he is on a steroid cycle."

Overwhelmed with the information, the former wife notified a friend of hers who worked for the King County Sheriff's Office. Since KCSO employees are required to reported allegations of domestic violence, that friend told her immediate supervisors what she heard. An investigation began to look into the allegations.

KING 5's Linda Byron was at Urquhart's Thursday news conference and tweeted updates on the case:

 

 

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