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Stevens County militia leader wanted on extortion charges arrested in West Virginia

UPDATED: Tue., May 7, 2019

James “Russell” Bolton, a onetime candidate for Stevens County sheriff, was arrested late Monday, May 6, 2019, in Princeton, West Virginia, on charges of extortion and attempted theft. He is accused of delivering threatening anonymous letters to members of his own right-wing militia group and demanding large sums of cash. (Facebook)
James “Russell” Bolton, a onetime candidate for Stevens County sheriff, was arrested late Monday, May 6, 2019, in Princeton, West Virginia, on charges of extortion and attempted theft. He is accused of delivering threatening anonymous letters to members of his own right-wing militia group and demanding large sums of cash. (Facebook)

A Stevens County man wanted for allegedly extorting members of his own right-wing militia group was arrested late Monday in West Virginia.

James “Russell” Bolton, 51, was arrested without incident at about 10 p.m. EST at his father’s house in Princeton, West Virginia, said Gavin Duffy, chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service in Eastern Washington.

Marshals worked with the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office and authorities in West Virginia, Duffy said. Prosecutors will seek to have Bolton extradited back to Washington.

Bolton, who mounted an unsuccessful campaign to lead the sheriff’s office in 2010, was wanted on five counts of extortion and one count of attempted theft.

Stevens County detectives determined he was responsible for a series of anonymous threatening letters delivered to members of his militia group, the Stevens County Assembly. The letters purported to have come from a Mexican cartel and demanded large sums of cash in exchange for protection.

Bolton also is accused of pushing an associate down a flight of stairs and trying to suffocate him with a plastic bag in Spokane. In an attempt to extract more money, Bolton allegedly claimed his own wife had been kidnapped and was being held for a $100,000 ransom.

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