LAS VEGAS – The man known to millions of cable TV viewers as Chumlee on the reality show “Pawn Stars” was being held late Wednesday in a Las Vegas jail following his arrest on felony weapon and drug charges.
Austin Lee Russell, 33, was taken into custody when officers serving a search warrant in a sexual assault investigation found methamphetamine, marijuana and at least one gun at his southwest Las Vegas home, police said in a statement.
Russell wasn’t booked on a sex-crime allegation. Officer Larry Hadfield, a department spokesman, said that part of the investigation stemmed from a recent complaint by a woman, and it is continuing.
Russell was being held pending an initial court appearance on 19 drug-possession charges and one weapon charge, according to Clark County Detention Center records. His bail was set at $62,000.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Russell had a lawyer.
Pawn Stars" co-star Rick Harrison said, "We don't have details yet but are here to help Chumlee however we can."
A spokesman for A&E Network and the History Channel declined by email to comment.
Russell, who boasts a strong Twitter following and has his own merchandise line, says his personality on the show has made him a fan favorite.
“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,” he told the Las Vegas Sun in 2014.
“When people come in the store, they want to give me a hug and say hi. They want to see the Old Man sitting in his chair, they want to talk to Rick about whatever item they have. They interact with us differently … But me, I’m the guy they want to hug.”
Russell had a humble upbringing and had to deal with the loss of his father, who died in 2009 at age 54 of pancreatic cancer, just weeks before the premiere episode of “Pawn Stars.”