Ex-deputy charged in ‘spice’ ring

A former Hendricks County deputy provided security for a massive synthetic drug operation that stretched from China to a farm near New Palestine, prosecutors said Friday.

Former Hendricks County Deputy Jason Woods was charged in Hancock County Thursday with six felonies including corrupt business influence, dealing a synthetic drug and other crimes,

Woods, who was held in the Hancock County Jail, appeared in court Friday morning for an initial hearing.

Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said the charges stem from an Indiana State Police and Department of Homeland Security investigation into an international conspiracy stretching from the United States to China and back again to warehouses in Indianapolis and a farm near New Palestine.

“With the cooperation of some of the people that have been charged previously, it gave us the information that allowed us to charge Mr. Woods,” Eaton said.

Woods and his wife, former Hendricks County Deputy Teresa Woods, were arrested in December 2014 on other charges stemming from an investigation into the spice ring. They were suspended, then fired, in March 2014.

Authorities say the farm in the 4500 block of South County Road 650 West was being used as a spice production facility. Woods and his wife spent so much time at that farm, authorities said, that neighbors thought the police officer had moved in.

In the new charging documents, prosecutors say Woods used his position as a deputy provide security at the farm and to escort the spice-production operation when it was relocated to New Palestine from an Indianapolis warehouse.

In return, prosecutors say, Woods received gifts including trips to Phoenix and Las Vegas in 2013.

The alleged ringleader, fundamentalist preacher Robert Jaynes Jr., faces federal charges. Jaynes, authorities say, enlisted members of the Irvington Bible Baptist Church‘s small congregation to fund the operation, launder cash and even employed some to package the drugs and keep the books.

Woods and his wife were members of the church.

Star reporters Tim Evans and Mark Alesia contributed to this story.

Call IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2701. Follow him on Twitter: @vicryc.

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