Right-Wing Militia Leader Allegedly Penned Extortion Letters to His Own Members

A right-wing militia leader is now a fugitive after authorities in Washington state issued an arrest warrant for him on bizarre extortion charges. The Spokesman-Review reports that James “Russell” Bolton, who heads the conspiracy-minded Stevens County Assembly, penned anonymous threatening letters to members of his group insinuating they would be hurt by a Mexican cartel if they didn’t pay huge sums of money. He’s also accused of pushing an associate down some stairs and trying to suffocate him with a plastic bag. Bolton—who once ran for sheriff—claimed his own wife had been kidnapped and convinced the man he should give him $100,000 to pay the ransom, according to court documents. The newspaper said Bolton’s whereabouts are unknown.