The Indianapolis Star reports…
“Robert Jaynes Jr., the fundamentalist pastor who used his Irvington Bible Baptist Church as a virtual employment agency for a multi-million dollar drug ring, pleaded guilty to two federal charges Tuesday.
Jaynes, 45, pleaded guilty to producing almost 100 tons of synthetic marijuana, known as “spice” or “K2,” and conspiracy to commit fraud through mislabeling of the controlled substance. His plea agreement, filed in federal court in St. Louis, said he sold the drugs for $2.6 million.
Prosecutors agreed not to seek a prison sentence of more than 12½ years. Jaynes also agreed to forfeit at least $41,000 and more than 800 pounds of “silver colored” coins and bars, all obtained through the illegal drug operation.
Without the plea, Jaynes faced a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine.
After Jaynes’ plea in federal court, the pastor’s brother-in-law, close friend and church member Kirk Parsons, 47, pleaded guilty to the same charges. The details of Parsons’ plea deal, however, were kept under seal.
Jaynes and Parsons were released on bond and will be sentenced July 8.
Their guilty pleas are the latest twist in a bizarre story, reported by IndyStar in October. It involved not only the small church and its fire-and-brimstone preacher but an unlikely web of married cops, a former traveling clown who ran for the state legislature, an Indianapolis Public Schools teacher, bribery and, recently, the suicide of a suspect in jail.
Beyond all that, there are the deep connections of key players — including Jaynes, Doug Sloan and Jason Woods — to Russell Taylor, the former head of Jared Fogle’s foundation, who is in prison for child pornography unrelated to the spice ring.
Jaynes and Parsons were among 13 people from multiple states indicted in an international spice ring that reached from New Palestine to China. Jaynes admitted being at the center of an Indiana operation that produced thousands of pounds of spice for the ring.
No charges against Jaynes and Parsons were dropped in exchange for their guilty pleas.
Jaynes founded the Irvington church in 1998. According to court records, Jaynes employed church members in his drug enterprise, and members wrote personal checks to foreign suppliers of illegal substances used to make spice. Some laundered profits through personal bank accounts. Others produced and packaged the drugs at warehouses run by Jaynes and Parsons. One even kept the drug ring’s books.
Through it all, Jaynes continued to preach the word of God, fervently imploring his parishioners to turn away from earthly temptations.
Jaynes, however, was still helping lead the worship at least until late November of last year. He’s in a YouTube video posted on the church’s website playing guitar and singing a gospel song called “We’re Not Home Yet.”
In the song, Jaynes sings, “This old world is filled with disappointments and trouble every day. Many times I get discouraged and almost lose my way…..”