McCain Campaign Cuts Ties With Fundraiser Arrested In Meth Lab Bust

A fundraiser for Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) re-election campaign was arrested Tuesday after Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies said they found an active meth lab and other illegal drugs at her Phoenix residence, the Arizona Republic reported.

Emily Pitha, 34, and her boyfriend, Christopher Hustrulid, 36, face felony drug charges, according to the report. Pitha previously served as a constituent service representative for former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told the Republic that they first learned of potential illegal activity at the home after a parcel containing over 250 grams of MDMA arrived there Tuesday from the Netherlands. Upon entering the residence with a search warrant, detectives discovered the meth lab, along with a cornucopia of other drugs including LSD, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, according to the Republic. Officials also found $7,000 in loose currency and counterfeit money.

The McCain campaign quickly announced it had ended its relationship with Pitha.

“We commend the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement officers in their fight to keep our community safe from illegal drugs and associated criminal activity. The campaign immediately terminated any relationship with Ms. Pitha upon learning of her alleged involvement in the operation,” McCain campaign manager Ryan O’Daniel said in a statement sent to the newspaper.

The Republic reported that Pitha and Hustrulid may face child-endangerment charges in addition to the drug violations, as two children, aged 5 and 10, were living inside the home and had “easy access to all of (the) drugs and materials, even the bomb-making materials that were located in the back with the meth lab.”

Local TV station KNSV reported that the children were at daycare at the time of the raid.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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