McCain fundraiser arrested in meth-lab bust in Phoenix
AZ Central, April 27, 2016
A woman listed as the RSVP contact for U.S. Sen. John McCain's re-election fundraisers was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of drug charges after Maricopa County sheriff's deputies found an active meth lab and other illicit drugs while conducting a search warrant at her north-central Phoenix home, officials said.
The Sheriff's Office identified one of two people arrested in the drug bust as 34-year-old Emily Pitha, a former member of the staff of retired U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who most recently worked on GOP campaign fundraising.
McCain's campaign manager, Ryan O'Daniel, issued this response Tuesday night:
"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.”
A Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman said authorities were first alerted to possible drug activity at Pitha's Phoenix home by a parcel in transit from the Netherlands containing over 250 grams of MDMA – raw ecstasy. Detective Doug Matteson, the MCSO spokesman, said Pitha's boyfriend, 36-year-old Christopher Hustrulid, signed for the packaged when it arrived at their doorstep Tuesday afternoon.
Detectives executing a search warrant at the home discovered an active meth lab, along with unspecified quantities of LSD, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, about $7,000 in loose currency, and counterfeit money, according to Matteson. A separate building on the property was found to have a hidden room that was to be used as a marijuana-grow facility, he said.
Pitha and Hustrulid were arrested and expected to face numerous drug violations, in addition to possible child-endangerment charges.
Matteson said two children living inside the home -- ages 5 and 10 -- "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."
Deputies evacuated occupants of nearby homes Tuesday evening while the sheriff's bomb squad disposed of the volatile materials used in the meth-making process, Matteson said.
No injuries were reported.