Deputy in corruption scandal pleads guilty

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:


The former King County Sheriff’s deputy at the center of a police corruption scandal for distributing drugs pleaded guilty Monday afternoon.

Darrion Holiwell is expected to spend a year and a day in prison -- multiple terms on seperate criminal charges that would run at the same time. He's also expected to get a year of community supervision after his release.

KIRO 7's Deborah Horne was in the courtroom when Holiwell signed his guilty plea. She's putting together video now and will have a complete story on KIRO 7 Eyewitness News starting at 5 p.m.

The judge called Holiwell a disgrace to his profession. Holiwell apologized to the sheriff's office, his family, wife and children.

Holiwell, who was fired by the sheriff last month, was charged with promoting prostitution theft and drug charges – all felonies. He remains in King County Jail.

“Darrion Holiwell violated his oath, the trust of his fellow deputies, and the trust of the citizens of King County,” Urquhart said in a July 15 statement.  “He does not deserve to be a police officer.”

Holiwell is accused of giving prescription drugs to fellow deputies and promoting his wife as a prostitute. Holiwell had evidence of erectile dysfunction medication, in addition to steroids at storage units, court documents show.

As part of the Sheriff’s office investigation into Holiwell, detectives searched two Puyallup storage units and part of the garage associated with the Crystal Ridge Condominiums at 15315 Sunwood Blvd. in Tukwila.

During the April 23 search of the condo garage, more than 100 labels were found, and detectives also found notes with what they thought was an inventory of products. Documents from the search were made public this month.

The list included several steroid names, molly – a stimulant similar to ecstasy that creates euphoric highs – and Cialis, a commonly prescribed drug that treats erectile dysfunction and enlarged prostate symptoms.

During the condo garage search detectives also recovered a laptop, a digital video camera, computer discs, insulin documents, media storage devices, handwritten documents, syringes, vial labels and other items.

Members of the SWAT team were aware that Holiwell was taking brass shells from a gun range where SWAT practices and selling them, Urquhart said last month. Money went to a slush fund that was said to be affiliated with the Sheriff’s Office – but Urquhart said Holiwell kept that fund secret from commanders.

There is also evidence that Holiwell sold steroids to members of the SWAT team. But the Sheriff’s Office can’t say exactly how many deputies may be steroid users – it’s against the law for them to test.

Click here to read a copy of the charges against King County Sheriff's deputy Darrion Holiwell.

Asked if he would be concerned the safety of Sheriff’s Office employees if Holiwell posted bond, Urquhart said, “Yes.”

“The State also has significant concerns for the safety of the community and the witnesses who have cooperated in the investigation and whose identities will be revealed,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff wrote in court documents. “By all accounts, the defendant is a highly skilled marksman.”

In April, police sources told KIRO 7 that the wife of Holiwell, a 19-year deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, is a professional sexual escort and that her husband was somehow complicit regarding the illegal activities.

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