Two former Hendricks County deputies were arrested Thursday morning on charges related to a nationwide drug investigation.
Jason Woods, 41, and Teresa Woods, 34, were taken into custody at the Indianapolis office of Homeland Security Investigations and transported to Boone County Jail where they were booked on two counts each of possession of a synthetic drug, police said.
Detectives received intelligence regarding a safe owned by the husband and wife in May. After a warrant for the safe was obtained in June, officials said investigators found more than $80,000 cash and over 100 grams of synthetic drugs inside.
The Woods were also under scrutiny in March after a longtime friend of the couple, Doug Sloan, who detectives believed to be involved in illegal activity, hired a private investigator to find out what the law enforcement couple had done with $250,000 he’d given them to keep for him.
While the hearing in March wasn’t meant to pursue criminal charges against the Woods, Hendricks County Sheriff Dave Galloway said during the proceedings that “the actions of these two deputies do not reflect the way our department operates. They do not deserve to be law enforcement officers in any capacity, and I’m sorry to be here in this situation.”
Following the couple’s suspension from the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department on March 12, the Woods went to Teresa’s mother’s house and dumped “numerous fire arms and a safe,” Teresa’s brother told police.
According to the brother, the Woods brought the guns and safe to Teresa’s mother’s house so investigators wouldn’t seize the items if they searched the Woods’ home.
On May 13, the Woods were fired from the sheriff’s department, following the recommendation of Galloway. At the time, the couple’s jobs were terminated due to Sloan’s allegations regarding the missing money, but court documents reveal that another investigation was taking place that involved the missing money and synthetic drugs.
Three days later, on May 16, detectives questioned Teresa Woods at her mother’s home.
The bigger picture
Officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations have been working to crack a synthetic drug ring based in Indianapolis since October 2013, when agents discovered packets of “spice,” or synthetic marijuana, stowed in parcels bound for Indiana at U.S. ports of entry.
While all the parcels were destined for different locations in the Indianapolis area, according to investigators, they all shared a common telephone number belonging to a Robert Jaynes.
Individuals questioned during the investigation said Jaynes, who ran Tight Thirty Entertainment Inc., a business promoting his band Tight Thirty, played a key role in the purchase and distribution of the drugs, court documents state.
In a probable cause affidavit linked to the Jason and Teresa Woods’ arrest, HSI special agents described how a visit to the TTE location at 8364 Brookville Road broke open the case and lead to the discovery of another business, West Strong Wholesale, also owned by Jaynes, which turned out to be something of a distribution center for the drugs.
When investigators arrived at the West Strong Wholesale warehouse, they saw four men loading up a cargo van and pickup with boxes and containers stuffed with packets of synthetic marijuana.
Agents questioned the individuals and learned they’d been paid by Jaynes to fill little bags with spice, the affidavit stated.
The men also implicated Kirk Parsons, who was said to have been working with Jaynes.
Another address listed on the parcels was 2030 S. Arlington Ave., the location of the home belonging to Jarad and Jayme Lewis.
During an interview with the Lewises, court documents state that both Jarad and Jayme admitted to HSI agents that they knew Jaynes and Parsons.
Jarad told investigators that he used to work for Jaynes and Parsons at the West Strong Wholesale warehouse, and now he was receiving spice parcels at his home on behalf of them. He also said he’d purchased cashier’s checks with money given to him by Jaynes, and that he even bought a $230,000 home in cash in his name with Jaynes’ money.
In Jayme’s interview with investigators, she too admitted to purchasing cashier’s checks for Jaynes, and making them out to Reliable Distributing, which, according to HSI, is a Canadian company known for brokering purchases of raw synthetic drug powders from Chinese manufacturers.
Then Jayme told the special agents about Hendricks County Sheriff’s deputies Jason and Teresa Woods.
Court documents state that Jayme and Jarad Lewis knew the Woods had obtained cashier’s checks made out to Reliable Distributing. In fact, Jayme recalled one occasion where Jason Woods handed her two personal checks made out to the Canadian company, an account bank records later confirmed.
Later, when investigators searched the house purchased by Jarad on behalf of Jaynes, and discovered synthetic drugs and paraphernalia, neighbors said they reported seeing a marked sheriff’s department car parked in the home’s driveway.
When detectives interviewed Teresa Woods on May 16, she told them that she and her husband felt completely taken advantage of by the people at Irvington Bible Baptist Church. She stated that when Jaynes approached them and talked to them about God and going to church, that she and Jason fell for the spiel.
Teresa Woods also told investigators that when Jaynes asked Jason to write out checks to Reliable Distributing, Jason had no idea what the company’s dealings were. She said he knew only that other worshipers at the Irvington church had written checks out for Jaynes, so he thought it was OK.
As for the contents of the safe, Teresa Woods told detectives she didn’t know exactly what was in there, but that she and Jason Woods were the only ones who had access to it. She said the only explanation for the drugs inside the safe was that she and Jason Woods had tried Spice “years ago,” before it was illegal.
As for the missing $250,000, court documents state that that’s when Teresa Woods figures this whole situation started. She told investigators she and Jason Woods both knew Sloan had been involved in the synthetic drug business, but when the state cracked down on the ingredients that could be used, Teresa said Sloan found a way around it, a way to make it legal.
Detectives have yet to say if there is a direction connection between Sloan, Jaynes and Parsons.
So, following their suspension from the Hendricks Count Sheriff’s Department, they hid the safe at Teresa’s mom’s house, where her mother and brother discovered it and called law officers.
Authorities obtained a search warrant to open the safe in June. Inside, they found $88,000, 107.51 grams of methylone, 1.34 grams of 4-Methylethcathinone (a stimulant) and 58 blue tablets that were found to be a non-controlled substance.
To date, both Jarad and Jayme Lewis, along with 10 other individuals, face charges of corrupt business influence, unlawful manufacture, distribution, and possession of a counterfeit substance, conspiracy to deal in synthetic drugs or lookalike substances, dealing synthetic drugs or lookalike substances and maintaining a common nuisance. It was unclear Thursday whether Jaynes and Parsons had been charged in connection with the investigation.