Defendant in raid sentenced

GREENFIELD — An Indianapolis man has pleaded guilty to charges he faced in connection with a 2013 drug lab raid that landed a dozen people in jail.

Chad Tichenor pleaded guilty this week to maintaining a common nuisance as a Class A misdemeanor. He has been sentenced to serve a year on probation. Four felony charges he faced were dismissed, according to court records.

Tichenor was arrested following an Indiana State Police raid of a New Palestine home that contained what some investigators said was the largest synthetic marijuana manufacturing operation they had ever seen. Police confiscated millions of dollars worth of the drug commonly known as “spice” at the end of a long joint local-federal investigation.

Operations at an Indianapolis warehouse and at a home in California where the drugs were packaged were also broken up during the same investigation, according to court documents.

The agreement Tichenor accepted from prosecutors was appropriate for his involvement with the manufacturing operation, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.

According to court documents, Tichenor told investigators he helped package drugs in the California home owned by Robert Jaynes and Kirk Parsons, two Indianapolis men who investigators say ran the drug-manufacturing ring.

Jaynes and Parsons face charges in a federal drug case related to the raid, officials said.

Tichenor’s case is the seventh prosecutors have closed with a plea agreement; two defendants had their charges dropped; prosecution has stalled on two others pending further investigation; and one man is awaiting trial, court records show.

Twelve people were charged six months after the home in the 4500 block of South County Road 650W in New Palestine was raided.

They included: Jarad Lewis and his wife, Jayme Lewis, and nephew Hayden Lewis; James Mills; Ryan Wyneder; Wesley Freeland; Kristina Arterberry; Lillian Bledsoe; Sharon Strong; Tichenor; Stacey Jaynes; and Sherry Parsons.

The Lewises owned and lived in the home in New Palestine where the drug operation was discovered.

Prosecutors have agreements with Hayden Lewis and Jayme Lewis to withhold prosecution until 2016, court records show. Eaton said he could not comment on the terms of those agreements because of ongoing investigations.

Court records show Mills, Arterberry, Bledsoe, Wyneder, Freeland and Strong have accepted plea agreements.

Stacey Jaynes and Sherry Parsons had their cases dismissed this year after prosecutors determined the two women didn’t know their relatives, Robert Jaynes and Kirk Parsons, respectively, were drug dealers.

When police questioned Robert Jaynes in 2013, he told investigators at the time that some of the people who worked for him did not know they were doing anything illegal, and he asked that they not go to jail, court records state.

When investigators said providing immunity might not be an option, Jaynes asked for a lawyer, court documents state.

Jarad Lewis, who told investigators Robert Jaynes gave him $230,000 cash to purchase the home, is scheduled to appear before a Hancock County jury in November.

He faces five felony charges including dealing a synthetic drug (two counts), maintaining a common nuisance, corrupt business influence and dealing in a lookalike substance.

Corrupt business influence and dealing in a lookalike substance are Class C felonies carrying a penalty of two to eight years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. The remaining Class D felonies carry a penalty of six months to three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or