NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A Hamilton County magistrate was charged Monday with possession of methamphetamine, obstructing justice and resisting law enforcement after a months-long Indiana State Police investigation culminated in a drug bust in the parking lot of a Noblesville shopping center.
William Greenaway, 50, is accused of buying meth from an undercover police informant, attempting to conceal the plastic bag of drugs from authorities by swallowing it and biting a detective who tried to pry his mouth open to retrieve the evidence, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by News 8.
The investigation into his alleged meth habit commenced in November, authorities said.
On Nov. 28, 2018, state police met with an undercover informant who stated Greenaway “was going through a divorce and was dating [a woman] who had previously bought methamphetamine” from the informant, according to the affadavit.
The informant told detectives they had witnessed Greenaway obtaining and consuming the drug on at least two occasions, the document states.
On Feb. 11, state police conducted an interview with a second informant who stated she had a “personal relationship” with Greenaway and had observed him using meth “on multiple occasions.”
The second informant said she had purchased meth for him and arranged drug deals on his behalf, and informed detectives the magistrate used the code word “coffee” when discussing the drug.
The second informant accurately described Greenaway’s house and vehicles, and provided electronic records confirming a personal relationship with him, authorities said.
During a follow-up interview with state police on Feb. 20, the second informant told detectives she had used meth with Greenaway at “various locations” including his Noblesville house.
Armed with information about Greenaway’s drug providers, consumption habits and “code word,” investigators succesfully executed a multi-location drug sting on March 20 that led to his arrest.
Greenaway was recorded meeting with the second informant at a “pre-buy location” in Noblesville and counting out $140 in cash.
He gave her the money to buy meth for him, charging documents allege.
The two arranged to meet approximately an hour later in front of a Goodwill Store located at 16650 Mercantile Blvd, less than a mile from his house.
Greenaway and the second informant completed the transaction in the parking lot; she got into the passenger seat of his Ford Explorer and gave him a plastic bag filled with 2.5 grams of meth, according to the affidavit.
Officers stationed nearby promptly activated their “take-down signal” and closed in.
“State Police!” a detective yelled, flashing his metal badge at Greenaway. “Put your hands on the window! Hands up, hands up!”
The magistrate — still seated in the driver seat of his SUV — shoved the plastic bag into his mouth and swallowed it following a brief struggle with the detective.
“He used his teeth to bite down hard onto [the detective’s] thumb,” the affidavit states.
Greenaway was taken into custody and rushed to the Riverview Health emergency room for treatment.
During an interview with state police at the hospital, he denied buying meth from the informant and claimed he was “set up.”
When asked by detectives if he knew what was in the plastic bag and why he swallowed it, Greenaway responded, “I panicked. I knew what it was and the guy said ‘[I’m with] State Police’ and I said, ‘What the f**k do I do?’ and I swallowed the da*n stuff so whatever it was, it’s in me now.”
Among the personal items found in Greenaway’s pocket when he was taken into custody were court documents relating to another person’s March 20 arrest for meth possession.
“It should be noted that the individual identified in the court documents [found in Greenaway’s jacket] had previously been identified as a methamphetamine source of supply for Greenaway by both [informants],” the affidavit states.
Greenaway is suspended indefinitely from his position as a superior court magistrate, Hamilton County officials confirmed Monday.
The prosecutor’s office submitted a petition for a special prosecutor and judge to be assigned to the case to avoid any conflicts of interest.
The Hamilton County court administrator issued the following statement in response to requests for comment from News 8:
“The judges of the Hamilton County courts have learned of allegations against Magistrate Will Greenaway and, due to the nature of these allegations, have indefinitely suspended him pending further information. Because the magistrate is an employee of the court, the policy is to make no further comment at this time. The Judges want to assure the public that the courts have taken steps to ensure the courts’ business in all of Hamilton County’s courts will continue.”
A courthouse employee who requested to remain anonymous told News 8 he had worked with Greenaway for more than a decade and considered the magistrate a “good person.”
He described Greenaway as a “fair judge” with a “colorful sense of humor.”
“[Greenaway is] a nice guy who did something stupid,” the colleague said. “He’s under a lot of pressure.”
He wasn’t shocked by the arrest, however, and indicated he and others around the magistrate had been aware of “ongoing” issues exacerbated by stress.
If convicted, Greenaway could be disbarred and permanently removed from the bench. Each of the three felonies he was charged with carries a maximum prison sentence of 2.5 years.
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed proceedings against Greenaway following his arrest and suspension, online records revealed.
No booking photo of Greenaway was available Monday night; he was not listed as an inmate at the Hamilton County jail.
Attorneys for Greenaway could not be reached for comment.