PARKERSBURG - Law enforcement's grasp on drug prevention has changed with warm temperatures sticking around.
Officials said more people are growing marijuana indoors to avoid the torching of the plants by the summer's high heat.
The Wood County Sheriff's Office said the seizing of marijuana plants has not increased or decreased compared to previous years.
Sheriff Jeff Sandy said more people are growing marijuana indoors to avoid law enforcement detection. The sheriff's office discovered marijuana plants being grown in a home after a search warrant was executed in a Mineral Wells trailer.
Officials said the humane society was called when a complaint was filed about dogs being left in the residence, unattended, for several days. The sheriff's office entered the trailer and discovered the plants.
The Drug Task Force estimated the value of the seized crop to be about $2,500. Sandy said the force has proven to be an asset to the community.
Drug possession of any amount is a misdemeanor that can result in 90 days to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Any sale or distribution of an amount of drugs is a felony resulting in one to five years in jail and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Trafficking of marijuana into West Virginia is a felony resulting in one to five years in jail and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Sale or distribution of drugs to a minor or within 1,000 feet of a school is a felony, resulting in two years in jail but no fine.
"Our drug task force has been very successful in its efforts to keep drug activity lower in Wood County than many other West Virginia counties," he said. "The task force has been important for Wood County citizens."
Officials said the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force conducted a drug investigation in Martinsburg Sept. 14. The drug, cocaine, was discovered and resulted in the arrest of two individuals.
The two men were arrested and charged with felony conspiracy and felony distribution of controlled substances.
According to the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, West Virginia ranked fifth among states for the number of marijuana plants authorities destroyed from 2011.
Three of the top five marijuana-producing states are in Appalachia: Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Sgt. Mike Smith, marijuana eradication officer with the West Virginia State Police, said officers haven't found any more or less marijuana plants in the state this year. Smith said growers will, however, be forced indoors with the first frost.
Regardless of growing the plants indoors or outdoors, the best tips about the crops come from the public, he said. Smith said when the plants are grown outdoors people run into them more easily.
"Indoor is not as detectable," he said. "Outdoor (growing) is more detectable because of recreational activities, people run into the crops."
Smith said drug activity and crimes related to drugs will always be around.
"Some crime will just always be drug related," he said.
Drug task forces will always be an important tool for law enforcement officials, he added.