Newport Alderman Sentenced to 3 Years Probation at Halfway House on Federal Drug Charges

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A former Newport alderman who pleaded guilty in November to a single count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine has been sentenced to three years probation, to be served at a halfway house.

On November 20, Pinkey McFarlin's plea ended a federal trial that had been underway for two weeks on 25 counts of drug trafficking and a charge of witness tampering.

Prosecutors argued yesterday before U.S. District Judge George Howard, Jr. that McFarlin should be sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison.  But McFarlin's lawyer called character witnesses who testified about McFarlin's work for his community and the poor, despite his own health problems.

The 56-year-old McFarlin said during his trial that he sold crack cocaine and prescription anxiety medication to an informant not because he was a drug dealer, but because the buyer offered to provide him with the painkiller hydrocodone, to which he was addicted.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)