Charles David Chastain
, 46, an auxiliary deputy in Arkansas County and retired State Police special agent, faces a federal charge for abusing his power as a deputy.
He allegedly used confidential informants to steal a $25,000 ATV for him and obtain stolen weapons. They got in touch with the FBI and he was arrested after a sting in which he bought automatic rifles FBI and State Police had supplied to sell to Chastain as reputedly stolen weapons.
Chastain was arrested Tuesday
at his home in Stuttgart. An arrest warrant filed in federal court in Little Rock says Chastain is charged with "Interference with commerce by threats or violence - specifically, extortion under color of official right."
U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland
issued this statement:
“The investigation includes allegations of stolen firearms and extortion, is ongoing and will continue after today’s court appearance,” Hiland said. “This law enforcement officer was placed in a position of public trust, and will be held accountable for any abuse of that trust. Any allegations of this sort will be thoroughly investigated and taken extremely seriously.”
Chastain worked part-time on a task force that operated in Arkansas, Jefferson and Lincoln Counties. Sheriff Todd Wright said Chastain was one of the "best narcotics guys" he'd ever seen. He was suspended as a deputy following the arrest.
Chastain is being held pending a bond hearing Thursday.
UPDATE: An affidavit for Chastain's arrest from FBI agent Aaron Green
details the allegations.
It said Chastain supervised confidential informants who made controlled drug buys. One of them said Chastain had offered $1,000 and preferential treatment on pending drug charges if he'd steal an all-terrain vehicle for him. It says the informant stole a $25,000 ATV from a Clarendon hunting club and delivered it to Chastain. Another informant participated and said he, too, had cooperated for fear of retribution from Chastain.
On December 12,2017, CHS1 and CHS2 were interviewed by FBI agents. CHS1 stated that on November 28, 2017, at CHASTAIN's request, CHS1 approached the hunting club on foot and shot the flood lamps with a pellet gun. CHS1 hotwired the ATV, and CHSI pushed the gate open with the ATV. CHS1 reported working on the ignition, removing the tumblers and filing down a Chevrolet key to avoid suspicion and evade law enforcement detection.
The second informant provided the FBI with a recording of a call between informant
1 and Chastain and about the key he'd made.
CHS1 states, "That's the best I can do, man, I had to grind it down with a grinder," and Chastain replied, "It's alright. have that son-of-bitch in there in case I decide to take it for a ride."
An informant also made a video of a delivery of stolen ATV accessories to Chastain. He also provided screenshots of text messages with Chastain about obtaining stolen firearms and altering the identification number on the ATV. They also appeared to discuss theft
of firearms from a rental storage unit.
On Dec. 19, confidential information 1 called Chastain to sell him three purportedly stolen rifles for $300. The rifles were provided by State Police and FBI, including a fully automatic AK-47, a Winchester M14 and a Colt M16. After he took possession of the rifles, Chastain was arrested. A search of his shop led to seizure
of the stolen ATV, a Polaris Ranger 900.
The affidavit said Chastain waived a right to an attorney and voluntarily gave a statement. He reportedly admitted using his power as a law officer to illegally obtain an ATV for personal use (he said he wanted to take his grandchildren on it and to use it for hunting) and admitted using an informant to obtain the rifles. Added Agent Green,
...however, he claimed he was going to run them through national databases and enter them into evidence because they were fully automatic. Chastain stated had the firearms been semiautomatic, Chastain would have kept them for his personal benefit and use.