Arkansas sheriff arrested on charge of obstruction of justice

A southwest Arkansas sheriff has been arrested on a single count of obstruction of justice, authorities said in a statement Friday.

Charlie Robbins, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas, said in the statement that FBI agents arrested Hot Spring County Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner on Thursday. According to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Brian Ambrose, Finkbeiner helped impede a drug investigation.

“I believe probable cause exists to show that Derek Scott Finkbeiner corruptly endeavored to obstruct, influence and impede and official proceeding by attempting on multiple occasions to mislead federal investigators away from … and the illegal activity he knew to be occurring therein,” Ambrose said.

Finkbeiner was released after posting a $5,000 bond, Robbins said. The sheriff’s attorney, Alex Wynn, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Finkbeiner, 46, was elected to lead the sheriff’s office in 2022. If convicted of the charge, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Shortly after taking office, Finkbeiner’s leadership was placed in the spotlight when two of his deputies were arrested in the beating of an inmate being transported to another county. The status of their cases was not immediately available Friday.