SEI’s “Main Dealer” Of Meth, Others Charged
By Mike Perleberg
(Left to right) Kenneth J. Rodmaker, Jessica L. Steele, Timothy A. Parsons Jr., Joyce A. Parsons, Morgan Whaley. Photos by Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department.
(Dearborn County, Ind.) – Four Dearborn County residents are charged in connection with a multi-state methamphetamine dealing operation.
Detectives with the Dearborn-Ohio County Special Crimes Unit, Ripley County Sheriff’s Office, and other agencies began investigating the dealers last December, according to court documents detailing the case. Kenneth Rodmaker, 36, of Moores Hill, became the main target of the investigation.
After a couple weeks of surveillance in January, detectives stopped a vehicle Rodmaker was driving with passenger Jessica Steele, 24, of Moores Hill. Rodmaker was arrested on a probation violation warrant.
Inside the vehicle, police say they discovered methamphetamine, marijuana, dried mushrooms consistent with psychedelic mushrooms, digital scales, a loaded handgun, a stun gun, and multiple knives.
Detectives learned that Rodmaker was a “higher” level trafficker of methamphetamine. He allegedly purchased the meth from Timothy Parsons, Jr., 38, of Dillsboro.
“Steele advised that Parsons is the main dealer of methamphetamine in southeast Indiana,” detectives wrote in a court affidavit.
The Special Crimes Unit had also confiscated a cell phone from Rodmaker. It contained a large amount of text messages with a number detectives believe belonged to Parsons. Many of the messages were arranging meetings at multiple hotels in the Fairfield, Ohio area.
Parsons had become wanted in Ripley County earlier in January for a probation violation. He began staying at various hotels in Ohio with other associates.
After getting a warrant for tracking a cell phone they believed Parsons to be in possession of, the Indiana detectives began working with police in Sharonville, Ohio, who were also investigating methamphetamine dealing activity.
A vehicle Parsons was traveling in was found parked at a hotel in Sharonville on February 2. Detectives witnessed Parsons, his girlfriend Morgan Whaley, and his mother Joyce Parsons leave the hotel in Joyce Parsons’ car. A traffic stop was made by police on Interstate 75. Tim Parsons and Whaley, who was wanted in Dearborn County, were each taken into custody after a short foot pursuit. Joyce Parsons was arrested after allegedly being found with marijuana on her person.
Indiana and Ohio police executed a search warrant at the hotel room where the group had been seen leaving and the two vehicles. Investigators allegedly found methamphetamine, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, and pills. Also discovered were two handguns, 34 cell phones, and about $8,200 in cash.
During questioning, Whaley told police about her involvement with Tim Parsons. The Milan resident stated Parsons had bailed her out of jail before they ran off together to Ohio, staying in various hotels, while Joyce Parsons rented the rooms in her own name and brought them money and food. She allegedly told detectives that Joyce would drive them to Indianapolis where Tim Parsons would purchase large amounts of methamphetamine to be sold in and around Dearborn County.
Whaley also spilled the beans about much of Parsons’ alleged drug dealing activity she claimed to have witnessed. She told police that Jessica Steele would often bring people to Parsons to purchase drugs.
Joyce Parsons, 58, of Dillsboro, was less forthcoming in her talks with the Special Crimes Unit detectives, who described her as uncooperative. She told police she would routinely drive her son and Whaley around, but she claimed to have no idea where, why, or who they were meeting with. She admitted to staying with her son in some of the hotel rooms, but maintained that she did not know why multiple individuals would come to the rooms to meet with her son.
Timothy Parsons Jr., Joyce Parsons, Kenneth Rodmaker, and Jessica Steele have each been charged with a single count of Conspiracy to Deal in Methamphetamine (level 2 felony), a crime punishable by 10 up to 30 years if convicted.
Timothy Parsons is also facing several charges in Hamilton County, Ohio including Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs, Trafficking in LSD, Possession of LSD, and Having Weapons While Under Disability.
Whaley was not charged as part of this investigation, though she was charged with violating her probation from a separate Indiana case.