Indianapolis pastor pleads guilty in synthetic pot operation

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A central Indiana pastor has admitted to using his congregation as a virtual employment agency for a large synthetic drug operation.

The Indianapolis Star reports that 45-year-old Robert Jaynes Jr. of Irvington Bible Baptist Church in Indianapolis pleaded guilty Tuesday to producing almost 100 tons of synthetic marijuana and conspiracy to commit fraud through the mislabeling of the controlled substance. His plea agreement, which was filed in federal court in St. Louis, said he sold the drugs for $2.6 million.

The pastor’s brother-in-law, 47-year-old Kirk Parsons, pleaded guilty to the same charges. Both men were released on bond and will be sentenced in July.

Other members of the church, including two former Hendricks County sheriff’s deputies, also face charges for their involvement in the operation.