Hayes gets prison time for drug-related crimes

LIMA — Joshua Hayes, a former Shawnee Township chiropractor and a vocal proponent of the virtues of holistic medicine and plant-based, spiritual healing was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison on a variety of drug-related charges.

Hayes, 40, was indicted by a grand jury in October of last year on two counts each of possession of hashish, aggravated possession of drugs and possession of marijuana, all third-degree felonies. On April 29, he entered no contest pleas to each of the six counts.

At the heart of the case against Hayes was the discovery of controlled substances at a Breese Road residence he owned. In June 2022, Shawnee Township police were called when the drugs were found inside the home, which at the time was occupied by Angela Hayes, his ex-wife.

Two days later, a search of the One River Collective natural health care facility operated by Hayes unearthed additional controlled substances, including psilocybin mushrooms, 20 pounds of marijuana and 255 grams of liquid hashish.

Allen County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Thines said Hayes “flouted the law” by using his varied professional occupations — as a doctor, chiropractor, healer, organizer of a Native American church and operator of a healing center — to run what amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Conversely, several of Hayes’ friends and supporters who gathered for the hearing said the one-time Lima mayoral candidate was an asset to the community.

Pastor Wayne Bradley, of ICAN Ministries, called Hayes “an amazing young man” who helped organize community events that “focused on inclusion, not exclusion.”

Rev. Todd Cosart, of the South Side Disciples of Christ Church in Lima cited Hayes’ “deep compassion for his clients” and his “sense of service” to the community.

“Service, compassion and love seem to drive Josh in all he does,” Cosart said.

Longtime Lima resident Georgia Groves described Hayes as “one of the kindest, most compassionate people I’ve ever met.”

Tim Samaniego, founder of the Black Swamp Singers, a Native American dance and drum performance group, said Hayes improved the lives of many people in the Limaland area. He asked Judge Terri Kohlrieser to “give this man a chance” and spare him a prison sentence.

Hayes spoke briefly on his own behalf, admitting he has made mistakes and telling the judge he has learned from those missteps.

“I have dedicated my life to service to people in the community. I love people,” Hayes said. “My intent was never to cause harm to people. I just ask that my full character be taken into account.”

Kohlrieser admitted she struggled in crafting a sentence for Hayes but ultimately determined that factors in favor of prison outweighed the alternative.

“I believe you have a sincere belief in what you were doing, and I believe you believe you were helping people. But we’re still required to follow the law,” the judge said. “Whether we agree with them or not, laws exist for a reason.”

Kohlrieser said Hayes would be a candidate for a judicial release, adding there was no guarantee he would be released early from prison.

Hayes was also arrested in Minnesota in 2017 on a felony charge of possession of marijuana. In 2021 the Ohio State Chiropractic Board suspended his license for one year and fined him $5,000 on charges related to his treatment of patients.

Hayes finished third in a four-candidate special run-off election for the mayoral seat in Lima in May 2021.