On 9 March 2016, Pawn Stars personality Austin Lee Russell (known to fans as “Chumlee”) was arrested in a late-night police raid on his home near Las Vegas.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Russell faced a number of charges related to a raid undertaken in the service of a sexual assault warrant:
Metro Police say they were serving a search warrant in a sexual assault investigation when they discovered methamphetamine, marijuana and firearms in his southwest Las Vegas Valley home.
That outlet clarified the sexual assault warrant wasn’t being served on Chumlee, but did not specify the party named in the warrant as a suspect at the time of the raid:
He is facing 19 drug possession charges and one count of possession of a gun by a prohibited person, jail logs show.
Russell has not been charged in the sexual assault case. Officer Larry Hadfield, a Metro spokesman, said that part of the investigation stemmed from a recent complaint by a woman, and it is continuing.He is facing 19 drug possession charges and one count of possession of a gun by a prohibited person, jail logs show.
The Washington Post described Russell’s on-screen persona in a report about the late-night raid:
He talks slowly, with unintentional humor. He shares a child’s sense of wonderment. He goes by Chumlee, after the cartoon walrus Chumley in the animated series “Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.”
After the show debuted in 2009, the longtime employee of Gold and Silver Pawn Shop quickly became the most beloved figure on a reality series that broke History Channel records in 2011.
“Everybody loves Chum,” his Web profile reads, “but he is often the butt of the boys’ jokes.” Despite persistent attempts to prove his colleagues wrong, Russell has remained the token “village idiot.”
Another article indicated that neither Russell’s associates nor the network had yet commented on Chumlee’s arrest:
A man who answered the phone at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Las Vegas Boulevard said he had no information about the arrest. A follow-up voicemail message was not returned.
A spokesman for A&E Network and the History Channel declined by email to comment.
Neither was it known whether Chumlee had yet been assigned or retained a lawyer. On 10 March 2016, Russell was held pending an initial appearance in court.