‘Pawn Stars’: Chumlee’s Bizarre History With Drugs, Illegal Guns, and a Police Raid

Pawn Stars is a popular reality series that debuted on television in 2009. Following the day-to-day happenings in a family-owned pawn shop in Las Vegas, Nevada, Pawn Stars appeals to history buffs and fans of reality television alike.

After more than 10 years on the air, Pawn Stars has earned legions of fans and made a lot of headlines. However, one of the most interesting aspects of the show is the off-camera story of Chumlee, one of the series stars. From police raids to felony weapons charges, Chumlee has had a troubled relationship with the law. 

What is ‘Pawn Stars’ about?

Pawn Stars premiered on television in 2009 and follows the daily activities at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. The family-owned business is helmed by Rick Harrison, Rick’s son, Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, and Chumlee Russell, a close personal friend of Corey. Also featured in early episodes of the show was Rick’s father, “Old Man” Harrison. The show tracks the owners and proprietors as they interact with customers, wheeling and dealing to snag the coolest pieces for the pawn shop. 

The show has undergone a number of format changes over the years, from the tragic passing of “Old Man” Harrison to an updated hour-long run time. However, the dynamic between the series stars has remained consistent, with Rick Harrison, his son, and Chumlee frequently locking horns over the way that the shop is run. Pawn Stars celebrated its 16th season in 2019, and although COVID-19 has caused some hiccups in the production of new episodes, the show is still going strong.

Chumlee is one of the stars of ‘Pawn Stars’

Chumlee Russell has been a fan-favorite on Pawn Stars since the series first debuted. On the show, Russell is laid-back and easygoing, and although he frequently makes blunders when buying items for the shop, he has remained close with the entire Harrison family. Russell has often taken on the role of the comic foil, and for many fans, the show wouldn’t be possible without his humorous influence.

Still, Chumlee Russell’s personal life has been riddled with controversy, and in 2016, he made headlines in a big way. 

Chumlee’s troubled relationship with the law

In early 2016, Chumlee Russell’s home was raided by Nevada police in response to sexual assault allegations. During the raid, police found everything from Xanax to crystal meth, as well as multiple weapons, only a few of which were registered to Russell, according to USA Today. Perhaps the most bizarre item that the police found during their raid was a stripper pole. The reality star was subsequently arrested.

He denied the accusations of dealing drugs, and ultimately accepted a plea deal that would keep him out of prison — as long as he could behave himself through 2019.

In spite the difficult circumstances, Russell was able to pull himself out of trouble and stay out of it. In 2017, he opened his very own candy store, Chumlee’s Candy on the Boulevard, and he embarked on a healthy lifestyle that has seen him lose a great deal of weight.

These days, Russell is doing better than ever, and even opened up in a recent interview, admitting that he’s never minded looking like “the dumb one” on Pawn Stars. In fact, he admitted, the role has worked out really well for him, and in spite of his setbacks, he’s living the life he always imagined. It is likely he will continue to appear on the show for years to come.

RELATED: ‘Pawn Stars’: Rick Harrison Spends Almost Half the Year Living Off-Grid