LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Embattled Hot Spring County Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner is facing additional federal charges in a new indictment issued this week.
The Nov. 15 indictment asserts the sheriff worked to obstruct a grand jury proceeding, that he interfered with an FBI investigation to protect an alleged drug dealer and that he worked to protect a drug house from federal investigation.
Count one of the new indictment is tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant/obstruction of justice, and counts two and three are misprision of a felony. Misprision is deliberately hiding knowledge of a felony.
Finkbeiner is currently free on bond after a Nov. 3 hearing where he was charged with obstructing a federal investigation related to the FBI investigating an alleged drug house in the county. That indictment and the Nov. 15 indictment were filed in the Western District of Arkansas federal court and are related investigations.
The indictment states that beginning in April, the judicial district’s Group 6 Narcotics Enforcement Unit was working with a confidential informant who made seven drug purchases from an unnamed man at his home in the county.
In May, the informant was at the house with the alleged drug dealer when Finkbeiner arrived and spoke with them, the indictment states. While there, the informant was given some drugs by Finkbeiner “believed to be methamphetamine,” according to the indictment. The indictment continues that the informant and Finkbeiner then “consumed a controlled substance, believed to be methamphetamine.”
The indictment continues that at the same meeting, Finkbeiner paid the informant to have sex with him. The informant had been secretly recording the transaction, according to the indictment.
Also in May, the FBI began its investigation using the same informant, per the indictment. The informant made another purchase from the alleged dealer in the same house while Finkbeiner was there.
Afterward, the FBI set up a surveillance camera near the home.
According to the indictment, Finkbeiner tried to persuade the FBI to end its investigation and remove its camera because the man in the drug house the informant had bought drugs from was an informant for him. The person was not a drug dealer, Finkbeiner is recorded telling the FBI, according to the indictment.
“These statements were materially misleading in that FINKBEINER knowingly and intentionally omitted and concealed the fact that SUBJECT 1 [the person the informant had reportedly purchased drugs from] was providing FINKBEINER with controlled substances and that FINKBEINER used controlled substances at SUBJECT 1 ‘s residence,” the indictment continued.
Afterward, the FBI interviewed Finkbeiner, and according to the affidavit, the sheriff admitted getting and using methamphetamine and crack cocaine he got from the alleged drug seller and had consumed the drugs at that person’s home — the same home the FBI had under surveillance. Finkbeiner also told the FBI he expected the agency to drop its investigation after he told them the person in the house was a “‘low level’ drug dealer,” according to the indictment.
After the Nov. 3 charge, Hot Spring County Quorum Court voted to disallow Finkbeiner from driving any county vehicles and required him to take a weekly drug test. The sheriff’s department is currently headed by its chief deputy.
In a Facebook post on Nov. 6, Finkbeiner stated he had not obstructed justice in any way.
According to court records, a video hearing on these new charges is scheduled for Dec. 5.