PRINCETON — A militia leader from Washington state wanted by federal authorities for extortion and attempted theft was captured in Princeton by troopers with the West Virginia State Police, authorities said Wednesday.

James Russell Bolton Jr., 51, of Stevens County, Wash., was arrested Monday night at his parents’ residence on Hilltop Lane, Sgt. A.P. Christian, with the Princeton detachment of the State Police, said.

“It came about quite quickly,” Christian said. “He was the leader of some sort of sovereign citizen’s group. The federal government called and asked for our assistance.”

Federal law enforcement agencies had information that Bolton was in the Mercer County area, Christian said.

In alliance with federal authorities, Christian said State Police troopers “sat on the residence,” and watched it to confirm Bolton’s presence.

“Once we received confirmation he was there, we obtained a search warrant and gained entry,” Christian said. “He was arrested by the West Virginia State Police on a fugitive from justice warrant.”

Because Bolton was considered armed and dangerous, State Police made a high-risk entry into the residence with a Special Response Team.

“They conducted a night-time entry into the residence,” Christian said. “There were no injuries to the suspect or law enforcement officers.”

Bolton is the leader of a militia group in Washington known as the Stevens County Assembly. He is wanted in that state for allegedly trying to extort money from his own group members and attempting 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.”

At the time State Police officials were alerted to Bolton’s presence in Mercer County they were in the midst of an investigation into a weekend murder in the Brushfork area.

“We took a break from the murder investigation to conduct this entry,” Christian said.

Although a resident of Washington, Christian said Bolton has a West Virginia Social Security number.

“He has family in the area,” Christian said. “He has ties to the area.”

Christian said Bolton’s extradition proceedings to Washington will begin Thursday when he makes his initial appearance in Mercer County court.

— Contact Samantha Perry at

Samantha Perry is editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.