Many of us want to forget 2016 ever happened — including Austin "Chumlee" Russell, we bet! The 35-year-old star of History’s Pawn Stars was arrested on drug and weapons charges last year, and he’s still paying the price. At least, however, he was cleared in the sexual assault case that started it all…
In March 2016, cops raided Chumlee’s home in their investigation into the sexual assault case regarding an unnamed woman. They didn’t find any connection to Chumlee, it seems; but they did find a private vault of his, a dozen weapons, and stashes of marijuana and methamphetamine.
“Austin did not want police to enter the vault because he had ‘private things’ in there,” stated the arrest report, obtained exclusively by In Touch. “Austin was reluctant to cooperate, explaining he had marijuana and guns in the vault and he smoked ‘a lot of weed.’” But the authorities told him this vault of his was subject to the raid, too, and Chumlee had to open it up to reveal the illicit possessions.
Two and a half months later, Chumlee pled guilty to a felony weapons charge and to a gross misdemeanor of attempted drug possession, per USA Today. He avoided jail time in his plea deal in favor of three years of probation and counseling. If he stays out of trouble until 2019, his felony charge will be dismissed. If not, he’ll face up to five years in state prison.
That’s just the recent drama in what has been a roller coaster life! Born Austin Lee Russell, Chumlee started working at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop at 21, and he became a breakout fan favorite soon after the reality show’s cameras started rolling there circa 2009.
On top of all the legal drama he's endured, Chumlee's also fallen victim to the inevitable celebrity death hoax. In fact, he’s been hit with at least three death hoaxes in the past four years. In May 2013, for example, a website called Internet Chronicle reported Chumlee (somehow) died of a “marijuana overdose” — a claim later reinvigorated in July of this year by the website business2community.com. And in March 2014, a site called eBuzzd claimed Chumlee suffered a fatal heart attack and even included fake Twitter reactions from celebrities, as Snopes reports.
None of it is true, of course. In fact, in May, he and his brother Sage opened a candy store, Chumlee’s Candy on the Boulevard, across the street from the pawn shop. “Sage and I are so happy to have the place open and transactions at the cash register,” Chumlee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The reception from the fans and customers has been amazing — it’s nonstop.”
He even lost 75 pounds between 2012 and 2013 by swapping out red meat for veggies and going to the gym six days a week, as he revealed to the Review-Journal. “I’m eating right. Well-balanced diet. I drink a juice smoothie every morning,” he said, explaining that his heath changes were inspired by his dad’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Here’s hoping this "Pawn Star" lives a long, long life — free of any other death hoaxes and any more legal trouble!