Chumlee could be facing sexual assault charges, with police arresting the Pawn Stars fan-favorite during a raid in connection with an investigation into allegations of sexual assault.
The reality television star, whose real name is Austin Russell, was arrested by Las Vegas Metro PD on Wednesday after a raid on his home turned up a number of illegal drugs and a gun. The raid was reportedly connected to an ongoing investigation for sexual assault, and officers came to his home on March 9 with a search warrant.
Police said the raid turned up drugs, including meth, and an illegal gun, leading to Chumlee’s arrest.
“During the course of a sexual assault investigation and search warrant search regarding Austin Lee Russell, detectives found illegal substances like methamphetamines, marijuana and several guns which he’s prohibited from owning, which resulted in his arrest.” Officer Larry Hadfield of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement (via Hollywood Life).
Chumlee was being held in the Clark County jail pending a court appearance for 19 drug possession charges and one weapon charge, the Associated Press reported. His bail was set at $62,000.
As the report noted, details about his arrest — or the details of the sexual assault investigation facing Chumlee — were light.
“It wasn’t immediately clear if Russell had a lawyer.
“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.”
Chumlee is one of the favorites to appear on the History Channel reality series Pawn Stars, which shows the daily life inside a famous Las Vegas pawn shop where Chumlee works. Chumlee has his own merchandise line and a legion of adoring fans who feel a connection to his fun-loving, simple demeanor on the show.
“People can relate to me, and they root for me because on the show I am the dumb guy, the one who is a little rougher around the edges,” Russell told the Las Vegas Sun in 2014. “I’m the guy they want to hug.”
After Chumlee’s arrest, many fans spoke out to defend him, including some who believed the sexual assault investigation was a set-up.
“I don’t see Chumlee doing that,” Damon Leaks told KTNV. “I think that might be somebody out trying to get his pawn star money.”
Chumlee has made headlines for drugs in the past, although the stories weren’t always true. A few years ago, he was the subject of a death hoax claiming that the Pawn Stars favorite died after “snorting” pot.
The story, which was connected to Facebook spam that often infected computers, even quoted a fictional expert named Dr. Angstrom H. Troubador.
“The only possible way he could have died from a marijuana overdose without first clogging his lungs with soot is through the use of vaporizers. Reportedly, Chumlee had rigged up to 90 vaporizers into one tube and had a team of groupies constantly loading them up with the stickiest and most potent of marijuana available on the market.”
Chumlee even ended up responding to the death hoax, taking to Twitter to let fans know that he is alive and well.
But Chumlee has not offered a statement yet about his felony drug and gun arrest or the ongoing sexual assault investigation he is allegedly facing.
[Image via The History Channel]