KGUN 9News


McCain fundraiser busted for drug operation

Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-28 12:17:53-04

A Phoenix woman has been dropped as a political fundraiser for U.S. Sen. John McCain's re-election campaign after being arrested on suspicion of drug possession and other charges.

Emily Pitha and her live-in boyfriend were taken into custody Tuesday after deputies served a search warrant at her north-central Phoenix home, Maricopa County Sheriff's officials said.

Christopher Hustrulid allegedly signed for a package containing more than 250 grams of Ecstasy.

Undercover detectives and U.S. Postal Inspectors raided the home after the delivery, according to sheriff's officials.

Besides finding an active meth lab, detectives also reported discovering about a quarter-pound of methamphetamine, 10 hits of LSD, about 2 grams of cocaine, several grams of heroin, several hundred Ecstasy pills, marijuana and hash oil plus about $7,000 and counterfeit cash.

Neither Pitha, 34, nor Hustrulid, 36, had a lawyer at their initial court appearance Wednesday.

Each was being held on $20,000 cash-only bonds on suspicion of manufacturing of narcotic drugs, possession of dangerous and narcotic drugs, marijuana possession and other drug charges along with various drug-possession charges and child endangerment.

MCSO officials say Pitha posted bail and was released from jail Wednesday evening.

Two children -- ages 5 and 9 -- live with the couple, but they were at daycare at the time of the bust, authorities said.

McCain's campaign manager Ryan O'Daniel said in a statement Wednesday that the campaign had "terminated any relationship" with Pitha.

Pitha was working as a consultant arranging fundraisers for McCain. She also has worked for top Arizona Republicans, with her LinkedIn profile noting previously work for Sen. Jeff Flake and former Sen. Jon Kyl.