Indiana Synthetic Drug Sting Nabs Two Ex-Sheriff’s Deputies

By Paul Gaita 12/19/14

Jason and Teresa Woods were part of what has been described as the largest synthetic drug operation in the region.

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Two former Indiana sheriff’s deputies were arrested last week for their connection to a nationwide synthetic drug ring.

Husband and wife cops, Jason and Teresa Woods, were arrested on a warrant and taken into custody at the Indianapolis office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) before being transported to Boone County Jail, where they were each booked on two counts of possession of a synthetic drug.

The arrests were made as part of a statewide investigation by the Department of Homeland Security into a statewide drug ring that began in October 2013, when agents found packets of synthetic marijuana in parcels bound for Indiana at various U.S. ports of entry.

Though all of the parcels were bound for different Indiana addresses, they all shared a common telephone number, including Robert Jaynes, a preacher at the Irvington Bible Baptist Church, who owned several businesses, several wholesale warehouses, and a distribution company.

Jaynes, along with 27 other individuals, was later indicted in June on federal charges of conspiring to create, market, and distribute illegal drugs in what officials described as one of the largest synthetic drug operations in the region. Jaynes was linked to the drug ring when HSI agents discovered individuals loading boxes filled with synthetic marijuana outside one of his warehouses.

When questioned, the individuals confirmed that Jaynes had provided them with money and drug parcels for storage and eventual shipments. They also confirmed that the Woods had obtained cashier’s checks from Jaynes’ company, and had in turn given two personal checks to the company.

The Woods had already been on authorities’ radar for their connection to Doug Sloan, which had resulted in their suspension from the Hendricks County Sheriff’s office in March 2014. Sloan, who was later named along with Jaynes as one of the 28 persons in the federal indictment, had arranged for the Woods to hold $250,000 for him that they were supposed to deliver to another individual. Woods later claimed that the money had been handed over, but Sloan claimed that the transfer was never made, and hired a private investigator to track down the missing funds.

Following their suspension, the Woods allegedly stashed weapons and a safe at the home of Teresa Woods’ mother, who later informed police of the items. A search warrant in June later revealed that the safe contained more than $80,000 in cash and over 100 grams of synthetic drugs.

When asked in May about all the issues in question, Teresa Woods said that she was unaware of the contents of the safe, but added that the drugs were likely from a period in the unspecified past when she and her husband had tried synthetic marijuana when it was “legal.” She was also unable to provide a reasonable explanation for the missing $250,000. Both were released an hour after their arrest last week after each posted a $550 bond.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.