GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) — Authorities in Santa Rosa County tore a known Gulf Breeze drug house right down to the ground Wednesday morning.
“This behind me belongs to Santa Rosa County. It does not belong to the drug dealers anymore,” Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said at a press conference Wednesday.
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said they’ve responded to the mobile home on Congress Street 76 times for various warrants and arrests since 2018.
Before seizing the property, the SRCSO said it belonged to 34-year-old Damien Kliesch. Kliesch was most recently arrested in February on a number of drug chargers.
With the demolition, Sheriff Bob Johnson wants to send a message to community.
“If you sell dope out of your house in Santa Rosa County, and we get enough information on you, and we get enough probable cause to file a civil action against you. We will take your home,” Johnson said.
County officials are hoping the closure will put a dent on the number of overdoses in the county.
“The drug problem in the area, in the district, is awful.” District 5 County Commissioner Colten Wright said. “I would bet everyone standing here today has been affected by drug abuse with a family member or friend or someone they’ve known. It touches everyone’s lives, and I think putting pressure on them, if we can get the drug dealers out of the area, it’s going to be a lot harder for that scourge to continue in Santa Rosa County.”
The county said they plan to turn the property into affordable housing.
“There’s a lot of good people that live in this neighborhood, but historically, it’s had a drug problem and had a crime problem,” Wright said. “I think this is one less drug den that we have to worry about. It’s a step in the right direction for the families that live here. So it’s still affordable, but it’s crime free.”
SRCSO said it’s the first known drug house they’ve seized, but it won’t be the last.