PRINCETON — A militia leader from Washington state who was wanted by federal authorities for extortion and attempted theft waived extradition Thursday in Mercer County Circuit Court.
James Russell Bolton Jr., 51, of Stevens County, Wash., was arrested Monday evening at his parents’ home on Hilltop Lane in the Princeton area, according to Sgt. A.P. Christian with the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police. Federal law enforcement agencies had information that Bolton was in the Mercer County area.
Bolton was brought Thursday morning before Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills for an extradition hearing. Wills informed Bolton that he had the right to have an extradition hearing in West Virginia. If he chose to fight extradition, Washington state authorities would have to come to West Virginia and testify that he was the James Bolton they were seeking.
Attorney Natalie Hager, who was representing Bolton, said her client wished to waive extradition.
Bolton will be held at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver until Washington state authorities arrive to take him into custody, Wills said.
Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler represented the state along with Assistant Prosecutor David Pfeifer.
Bolton is the leader of a militia group in Washington known as the Stevens County Assembly. He is wanted in that state for allegedly attempting to extort money from his own group members and trying to place the blame on a Mexican drug cartel.
In addition to the extortion attempts, The Spokesman Review reported that “Bolton also is accused of pushing an associate down a flight of stairs and trying to suffocate him with a plastic bag in Spokane. In an attempt to extract more money, Bolton allegedly claimed his own wife had been kidnapped and was being held for a $100,000 ransom.”