James "Russell" Bolton (Facebook photo)

A nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for a onetime candidate for Stevens County, Washington sheriff who allegedly tried to extort members of his right-wing militia group through anonymous written threats backed by insinuations they came from a Mexican drug cartel.

James "Russell" Bolton, 51, also is accused of pushing an associate down a flight of stairs and trying to suffocate him with a plastic bag in Spokane, according to records filed last month in Stevens County Superior Court. In that incident, Bolton allegedly claimed his own wife had been kidnapped and was being held for a $100,000 ransom.

Bolton faces at least six charges of extortion and attempted theft. As of Wednesday, he had not been arrested and his whereabouts weren't clear.

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