By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
A gray hat sitting in a driveway was the tip-off for sheriff's investigators on Burt Road.
The officers were accompanying Probation and Parole Officer Ryan Dillon on a home visit to the dwelling of Thomas K. McCullough.
"I noticed a gray hat sitting next to a green torch that was sitting in the driveway at the corner of the residence," reported Investigator Brandon Gullett.
Gullett touched the hat with his foot and discovered it was covering something up - a glass jar with a liquid inside.
"I then identified it to contain Coleman fuel and unfinished meth oil and pseudoephedrine inside," Gullett said.
At that point, the probation officer was talking to three persons at the rear of the house. Gullett recognized McCullough and Eleanor Marie Hale. He advised them of their Miranda rights and asked them about the glass jar in the driveway.
When McCullough denied knowing anything about the jar, Gullett then asked Hale about it.
"I was then cut off by Thomas K. McCullough saying that she didn't have anything to do with what he does," Gullett said.
After some additional questions, Gullett was asked to come into the house by Officer Dillon who showed the officers a glass pipe with a residue inside, two syringes, an almost empty bottle of Oxycodone, lithium batteries and a roll of clear plastic tubing.
Hale told the officers she had bought the batteries for her flashlight and the tubing for her father's fish tank.
All three suspects were then transported to the Cannon County Jail for additional questioning.
McCullough again denied making meth, claiming the items had been "planted" at his home.
Gullett then charged McCullough and Hale with initiation of meth manufacturing and possession of drug paraphernalia. The third individual at the home was identified as Amber Marie Ramirez. She was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Hearings are set for Jan. 7 in General Sessions Court.