Detectives with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona announced on Wednesday that they had discovered an active meth lab at the Phoenix home of a political consultant for former Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
Emily Pitha and her boyfriend, Christopher Hustrulid, face 12 counts of drug possession and child abuse after the raid of their home on Tuesday, according to court documents obtained by The Arizona Republic.
Pitha had previously worked as a staff member for Arizona Senators Jon Kyl (now retired) and Jeff Flake, both Republicans, and was listed as a contact for various fundraisers for Sen. McCain’s re-election campaign.
Deputies at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office received word that a package from the Netherlands containing drugs had been taken into the possession of customs and border patrol agents on its way to Pitha’s home. The package reportedly contained 250 grams of MDMA and Hustrulid signed for it upon delivery.
During a subsequent search of the house, detectives discovered an active meth lab, a quarter of a pound of meth, around 5 grams of marijuana, several grams of heroin and cocaine, approximately 50 milliliters of liquid MDMA, and 10 tabs of LSD and hash, according to a report provided to The Daily Beast by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. They also recovered $7,000 in cash and signs of the production of butane honey oil, which is a derivative of marijuana.
The drugs were found near the rooms of Hustrulid’s children, who are 5 and 10 years old and were reportedly in day-care when Hustrulid and Pitha, who are being held on a $20,000 bond in Maricopa County Jail, were arrested.
Detective Doug Matteson also told KPHO/KTVK that there were bomb-making materials on the property, along with the “beginning stages of a building they were building with a fake wall that would possibly to be used for growing illegal marijuana."
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an ardent surrogate for Donald Trump, announced the arrest on his Twitter account. “My Det's seized large drug shipment from Europe,2 arrests,meth lab, xplosive material, many drugs involved,” he wrote.
Pitha worked for a fundraising outfit called Lovas Co., whose client list also includes former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The company did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.
A spokesman for McCain’s reelection bid told KNPX that “the campaign immediately terminated any relationship with Ms. Pitha upon learning of her alleged involvement in the operation.”
A former Senate colleague who asked not be named told The Daily Beast that the arrest came as quite a surprise.
“She was a really good and diligent caseworker,” the colleague said. “Everyone’s really shocked,” the person said. “She always was a bit of a wild child but I don’t think anyone really expected anything like this.”