Hot Spring County Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner has been officially charged with obstruction of justice in federal court. The 46-year-old sheriff appeared via video before Judge Mark E. Ford in the Western District of Arkansas Court. Finkbeiner is facing a single count of obstruction of justice related to acts in August concerning FBI surveillance of an alleged drug house in the county.
According to the affidavit read by Judge Ford, the Group 6 narcotics drug task force, in collaboration with the Malvern Police Department, discovered that Finkbeiner would be visiting the alleged drug house in May. Subsequently, an FBI agent conducted a controlled drug purchase at the location. The FBI then installed a surveillance camera on public property outside the house. Agents claimed that one of the early images captured on the camera showed the alleged dealer looking towards the camera, followed by Finkbeiner arriving and pointing out the camera.
The affidavit further alleged that Finkbeiner repeatedly reached out to the FBI to obtain information about the camera. When he learned that it was part of a drug investigation, Finkbeiner reportedly told agents that there was no significant drug dealing on that street. He claimed to have a confidential informant on the street and stated that the FBI’s investigation was interfering with his own. Finkbeiner allegedly told the agents that he would instruct his informant not to cooperate with the FBI.
During the court proceedings, federal prosecutor Bryan Achorn argued against Finkbeiner’s release on bond, citing concerns about the sheriff’s position and access to law enforcement communications. Achorn also presented a list of additional allegations against Finkbeiner, including drug use, pressuring a woman into using drugs and performing sexual acts while in uniform, intimidating an unnamed elected official, and soliciting a drug dealer for compromising information on the official.
Finkbeiner’s federal public defender, Alex Wynn, argued that the charges against the sheriff were limited to obstruction of justice and that the other allegations were irrelevant. Judge Ford agreed and granted Finkbeiner a $5,000 bond, subject to standard conditions for federal parolees. These conditions include no possession of firearms or weapons, reporting any contact with law enforcement officers, and participation in a substance abuse program.
Following the judge’s ruling, the affidavit and official charges against Finkbeiner were unsealed, with redactions made. Finkbeiner was released on bond at 3:15 p.m. on Friday.