January 26, 2005 -- Posted 6:30 p.m. CDT
Newport, AR -- New reports indicate that Newport Alderman Pinkey McFarlin had a previous brush with the law involving drug charges. Earlier this month, McFarlin and his wife, pleaded not guilty to a 25 count federal drug indictment.
The paper trail is no longer existent, but the Daily Guard Newspaper out of Batesville is reporting that McFarlin pleaded guilty in 1987 to a felony drug charge for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. The incident happened in Poinsett County.
The source of this information is Bob Wilkin of Newport, McFarlin's 7 year probation officer. Wilkin tells the newspaper that McFarlin's record has since been expunged, which means it's sealed and no longer public record. K8 News has confirmed there is no record on file at the Poinsett County courthouse.
There is question whether McFarlin violated a political practice pledge when he ran for Newport Alderman in 2002. The pledge, which he signed, states that he had never been convicted of a felony in the state of Arkansas. It's dated March of 2002.
Reports also indicate that in November of that same year, a day before the election, and 8 months after signing the political pledge form, McFarlin obtained his order of expungement for his 1987 brush with the law.
Prosecuting attorney Henry Boyce turned this case over to special prosecutor Tim Williamson from Mena.
"If any person has previously entered a plea of guilty, and is eligible for expungement, or has gotten that record expunged as a result of that guilty plea, may sign a political practices pledge act and not be in violation of that act, if the expungement has occurred prior to signing, or if the expungement happens prior to the day of election," said Williamson.
Meanwhile, McFarlin is still not commenting on the current state of affairs.