JACKSON COUNTY - Marijuana growing season (May-after last frost to October) is underway, and new West Virginia State Police Ripley Detachment commander Sgt. K.M. Gilley encourages the public to take pride in their community and report any suspicious activity that could be drug-related.

“Strangers and people out of place are indicators of possible drug activity, along with individual and vehicular traffic coming and going to a residence or area at all hours,” said Gilley. “We rely on the public to provide tips, and we encourage residents to take pride in their community and report anything suspicious. They can call the detachment (304-372-7850) or us the internet tipline by logging on to www.wvsp.gov. Drug investigations can take time, but we will check out and act on any tip received. Immature marijuana plants resemble tomato plants.”

While there is debate about the possible legalization of marijuana, Gilley says marijuana is a “gateway drug,” typically leading to other illegal drug usage—pills, methamphetamine, heroin, etc.

Legislation and more stringent monitoring has helped put a damper on acquisition of meth-making components, but heroin trafficking is on the rise locally.
I-77 and Route 33 through marijuana-cultivation-notorious Meigs County, Ohio, are drug traffic pipelines from Detroit, MI and other locations.

Gilley said the WVSP conduct an annual marijuana eradication program with the assistance of West Virginia National Guard personnel and helicopters and state aircraft for aerial spotting of marijuana cultivation.
Ground searches of rural areas are undertaken from June through September/October with all detachment troopers involved.

Gilley said the WVSP Ripley detachment will expand to six troopers this month with the return of Cpl. B.L. Keefer.