Media Contact: Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (574) 296-1888

Over the past two days Judge David Bonfiglio handed down sentences in Elkhart Superior Court 6 for two defendants convicted of crimes related to the dealing of synthetic drugs which culminated in search warrants being served at several gas stations in Elkhart in June of 2014. During sentencing hearings the State argued the sentences should reflect the serious impact of these criminal acts on the community. The Court suspended Maranda Haynes' sentence, and Gurpreet Rimpel Singh was ordered to one year with Elkhart County Community Corrections.

On January 21, 2015, Maranda Haynes pleaded guilty to two counts of Dealing in a Synthetic Drug, a Class D felony, and two counts of Money Laundering, a Class D felony.

In her statement to police on June 9, 2014, Haynes told an Elkhart Police Department detective that she had worked at these convenience stores for seven or eight years and that the stores had been selling synthetic drugs for three or four years. According to her statement she was also well-informed regarding the procedures that lead to Corrupt Business Influence investigation. Specifically, Haynes reported that any credit transactions for synthetic drugs were rung as "money orders" and any cash transactions went straight into the register. The State went on to argue that Haynes voluntarily sold hundreds, if not thousands, of packages of poison, pumping these drugs into our community, resulting in immeasurable damage, all with full knowledge that her behavior was illegal.

At sentencing on July 15, 2015 the State, represented by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Leslie Shively, argued that the detrimental effect on the Elkhart community by Haynes and others dealing synthetic drugs out of local businesses warranted a stricter sentence and recommended that Haynes be ordered to serve consecutive sentences in Community Corrections. The Court instead ordered all of Haynes' charges to run concurrent and suspended the entire sentence. Haynes will serve 18 months on probation and pay court costs but no additional fine.

After a March 2015 bench trial Gurpreet Rimpel Singh was convicted of three counts of Dealing in a Synthetic Drug or Synthetic Drug Lookalike Substance, a Class D felony, and three counts of Money Laundering, a Class D felony.

During the initial investigation on three different occasions, Gurpreet Rimpel Singh was working as a cashier at Marathon Gas Station, 1850 Bristol Street, in Elkhart County, when he received money from a cooperating source working with the Elkhart Police Department. In return, Singh distributed to the cooperating source synthetic drug lookalike substances – packets labeled “iBlown” and “7H” and containing a green leafy substance that resembled marijuana or synthetic drugs. According to the investigation, after receiving the money from the sale of the drugs, the money was placed into the store’s cash register, and Singh would ring the transaction up as a sale of “groceries”.

At sentencing on July 16, 2015 the State argued that the maximum four year sentence should be imposed in Singh’s case due to the fact that the dealing occurred over an extended period of at least four months. The Court sentenced Singh to 18 months, with one year to be served with Elkhart County Community Corrections, and the remaining six months to be served on reporting probation.

The State, represented by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Peter Soldato, argued that during this time Singh caused a substantial harm to the Elkhart County community by distributing a poisonous substance with numerous harmful effects to the mind and body. The State reminded the Court of the testimony of a cooperating source who testified in Singh’s trial. That individual had approached law enforcement about the troubling synthetic drug sales after becoming concerned about his deteriorating health and the health of others who were using the drugs.

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in crimes including murder, violent offenses, child abuse and neglect, and impaired driving incidents committed while the offender was under the influence of synthetic drugs. The negative impact of this behavior on our community is immeasurable, when you consider the futures destroyed, families broken and children irreparably harmed due to the availability and use of this very addictive, often hallucinogenic drug. Accordingly, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will continue to inform the public and aggressively fight to hold all individuals responsible for providing, making available, introducing, delivering, or distributing synthetic drugs in this community.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”