Copters aid major drug bust
By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
A Hurricane Creek Road resident faces manufacture of marijuana and several other drug-related charges following a bust by the Cannon County Sheriff’s Department.
William Ray Hale was also charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for the use, storage, or sale of controlled substances. A total of 67 pot plants and about 15 to 20 pounds of processed marijuana were confiscated.
Hale “said he had been growing marijuana four years and that he had been caught three times over the years,” said Investigator Brandon Gullett.
“I was then advised by William Ray Hale in the booking room of the Cannon County Jail that he would have more plants growing in three weeks and that he would have more seeds in the mail by dark,” Gullett said.
The arrest followed an anonymous call to Gullett, who notified the helicopter-equipped Governor’s Marijuana Eradication Task Force.
Gullett, along with Sheriff Darrell Young, Investigator Anthony Young and Deputy Doc Smith, set up nearby Hale’s property.
“I was then notified by (the) helicopter pilot who stated that the marijuana plants were confirmed at 4826 Hurricane Creek Road,” Gullett said.
A search warrant was then obtained and served on Hale.
Gullett initially found two marijuana plants next to Hale’s garden and one small plant in the middle of the garden.
“William Ray Hale then walked me to the rear of the chicken pen where several more both large and small plants were recovered. I was also advised by Sheriff Darrell Young that he had located six marijuana plants ranging in size in a grown up sport behind the residence,” the investigator said.
Additional plants were discovered at the top of a hollow. Inside the barn, four pot plants were discovered drying.
“In this same room were two ammo cans, one large and one small, that both were packed full of individual bags of a leafy green substance,” Gullett said.
Additional marijuana and pot seeds were discovered inside Hale/s house. “Grow” rooms were discovered upstairs and in a white building outside the home.
According state officials, a fully grown marijuana plant can produce around a pound of marijuana. At street value, the marijuana is worth around $1,000.
In 2011, the Governor’s Task Force seized more than 600 thousand marijuana plants in Tennessee. The director of the task force says the plants were worth $600 million. Last year, the task force seized almost 150 thousand plants valued at $150 million.