Is 19-year King County Sheriff’s deputy Darrion Keith Holiwell the tip of the iceberg?
That’s the real question following King County Sheriff John Urquhart’s 1 p.m. press conference, during which the agency’s top cop laid out the case against Holiwell - who was booked into King County Jail earlier today on charges of promoting prostitution, theft and drugs. Holiwell, according to charging documents and Urquhart’s straight-shooting presser, stands accused of profiting from his estranged wife’s work as an illegal escort (going so far as to place Backpage ads for her), and running a steroid ring that may extend to other members of the force.
Most troubling, however, are allegations that Holiwell, over a seven or eight year period, stole spent brass shell casings from the King County Sheriff’s shooting range where he worked (as much as 19,000 pounds total). The money from the sale of this brass- which can go for $1-2 a pound, according to Urquhart, and likely brought in the $45 - 50K range before things were said and done - was then deposited into what was referred to as a “slush fund for the SWAT team.” Unbeknownst to top King County Sheriff’s officials, Urquhart said this money was then used by members of the SWAT team to “basically trick out their weapons.” Purchases from this account, according to Urquhart, included things like clothing, flashlights, gun barrels and high-end sights. “It’s against the law to do something like this,” Urquhart acknowledged.
Holiwell, along with two other deputies, was placed on paid administrative leave in back in April after an investigation was launched. Specific to the brass theft charges - and the things it provided for individual officers like Holiwell and the SWAT team as a whole - Urquhart accessed honestly, “We don’t know how far up the chain it goes.”
Translation: Who knew what, and who profited, has yet to be definitely determined. But it’s likely more heads will roll at the King County Sherrif’s department before this is over. This is potentially big.
“We have a real desire to get to the bottom of this as quickly as we can,” Urquhart said at today’s press conference, not shying away from the notion that he’s on a “witch hunt” for bad cops in his force.
“What we’re dealing with here is police corruption. ... We don’t know if other deputies are going to be charged or not.”
It’s not everyday that a cop accused of pimping his wife as an escort and selling steroids to his cop buddies has the allegations overshadowed by a brass-theft operation, but that appears to be just what Holiwell (and perhaps others) have achieved here.