GOP Fundraiser for John McCain, Other Republicans Nabbed with Boyfriend in Alleged Drug Bust
Mugshot of Emily Pitha, who faces multiple charges of drug possession, possession for sale, and child endangerment.
A cornucopia of meth, heroin, ecstasy, and other drugs, along with $7,000 in cash and evidence of drug-making equipment, allegedly were seized by authorities this week at a Phoenix residence shared by a high-powered GOP fundraiser, her boyfriend, and his two young children.
According to probable-cause statements on file with Maricopa County Superior Court, Emily Pitha, 34, and her boyfriend, Christopher Hustrulid, 37, were arrested after a search warrant was served on their Bethany Home Road address by Sheriff's Office detectives working with U.S. Postal Inspectors and officers from other agencies.
Court records state that the MCSO was tipped off by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to a shipment of 253 grams of ecstasy en route from the Netherlands to the house on Bethany Home Road. Though the package was addressed to another name, Hustrulid allegedly signed for the package when the U.S. Postal Service delivered it.
Pitha, center, during her initial appearance hearing; her boyfriend Christopher Hustrulid is to the left.
CBP inspectors had examined the contents, which tested positive for ecstasy. The probable-cause statement describes a stash of "purple 5-sided tablets" with a ram's head on one side, contained in "a plastic bag found inside a jigsaw puzzle box."
After raiding the house, detectives found the ecstasy, along with a large quantity of meth and other drugs, including LSD, heroin, and hash. Detectives also located drug paraphernalia and equipment that could be used to make hash oil, according to the probable-cause statement.
A subsequent press release issued by the MCSO identified "an active lab" in the home, "which was determined to have been used to manufacture MDMA and hash oil."
Pitha, who has worked on fundraising events for U.S. Senator John McCain, Governor Doug Ducey, and other Republican politicos, arrived at the home while the bust was under way, according to the statement.
According to court records, Pitha's boyfriend, Christopher Hustrulid, seen here in his booking photo, allegedly signed for a parcel containing 253 grams of ecstasy
Both Pitha and Hustrulid were booked into Maricopa County's Fourth Avenue Jail on multiple charges of drug possession, possession with intent to sell, and child endangerment. They are being held on cash-only bonds of $20,000 each.
According to her LinkedIn page, Pitha is an independent consultant for the LovasCo Consulting Group and formerly worked as a staffer for Arizona U.S. Senator Jeff Flake and before that, former Arizona U.S. Senator Jon Kyl.
Her e-mail address appears online on invitations as a contact for fundraisers involving Ducey, McCain, and others, featuring guests such as former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
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McCain's campaign manager Ryan O'Daniel told local media that the campaign had "immediately terminated" any relationship with Pitha once learning of her arrest.
In late February, McCain's campaign field director, Blaze Baggs, was arrested by Yavapai-Prescott tribal police on a charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly tearing a sign off a casino wall in Prescott.
McCain, 79, is seeking re-election for what would be his sixth term in the U.S. Senate, if he is successful.
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