PUNTA GORDA — Detectives made a unique discovery while serving a search warrant on a suspected drug house Wednesday morning.

In addition to drugs and paraphernalia, cops discovered a wooden trap door inside the house on the 15500 block of Lime Drive. The door led to the outside of the home by way of a crawl space.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Katie Heck said this was a modification detectives hadn’t seen before.

“The subjects appeared to have planned to use it as an escape route, barricading themselves in that room at the time of the search warrant,” she told the Sun.

After searching the home, authorities arrested five suspects:

Dustin T. Badke, 28. Charge: possession of drug paraphernalia.

Nicholas M. Bores, 26. Charges: possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting without violence.

Peggy D. Ford, 37. Charges: possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

Gregory J. Bores, 54. Charges: possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance (oxycodone, buprenorphine hydrochloride and nalaxone hydrochloride), possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting without violence.

Heather C. Vernacatola, 51. Charges: possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance (oxycodone, buprenorphine hydrochloride and nalaxone hydrochloride), possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting without violence.

The suspects were all booked into the Charlotte County Jail.

The arrests followed a long investigation by the Narcotics Unit, according to a CCSO press release.

No jail for those who seek help

In the press release for these arrests, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell reminded the community about his department’s Drug Recovery Initiative, which seeks to help addicts instead of putting them in jail.

Those who need help can bring their drugs to any district office or call deputies to their location.

“Through partnership with Charlotte Behavioral Healthcare, deputies will bring the caller to detox free of charge, without fear of arrest,” the release states.

Anonymous tips about drug dealers can be submitted at ccso.org or through the CCSO mobile app.

“Our Narcotics Unit detectives continue to work diligently to identify and arrest drug dealers in Charlotte County,” Prummell stated in the release. “In addition to ensuring recovery assistance is available to those addicted, eradicating these dealers from our neighborhoods is another step toward overdose prevention.”

Email: garry.overbey@your sun.com

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