They followed him to Sun Valley, where they saw him and Jesus Hernandez, 23, of San Fernando exchange drugs, he said.
When detectives approached the pair, they found a bag of drugs and cash in plain view inside Hernandez’s vehicle, Johnstone said.
But when detectives searched Hernandez’s car, they found heroin in a compartment under the dashboard, he said.
Detectives went to Hernandez’s home on Tujunga Avenue and found bags of cocaine, a handgun and thousands of dollars inside a bedroom, where Samuel Montes, 24, of North Hollywood, lived with his 21-year-old wife and 9-month-old baby, officials said.
They arrested Montes and Refugio Montes, 37, of Glendale, in a rear bedroom on suspicion of possessing and selling drugs, Johnstone said.
The cocaine at the Tujunga Avenue address had a street value of more than $240,000, he said.
The bust occurred out of the Glendale area because the men were selling drugs to local teens and residents.
Heroin use among teens in La Crescenta is a growing problem, leading to an increase in other crimes and broken families, Johnstone said. “It’s surging,” he said. “Years ago, you never saw heroin. It was the drug of choice for a middle-aged person who lived on the street.”
But demographics have changed, and younger adults are quickly getting hooked on the powerful opiate, Johnstone said.
Most teens aren’t injecting heroin into their bloodstream, but are smoking the drug instead, he said.
“I have had parents pleading for help because their sons and daughters, who are at high school age, are addicted to heroin,” Johnstone said.
Many teens become addicted to the drug after smoking marijuana laced with heroin.
“It’s just a powerful drug that the city has never seen before,” he said.
Most heroin arrests are linked to La Crescenta, Johnstone said.
Nearly 90% of Det. Dave Kellogg’s cases are heroin-related, he said.
“Over the past four years, the increase I have seen, I would have to say is epidemic,” Kellogg said. “I have seen male teens destroy themselves.”
Heroin use has increased so much that he said he can’t keep up with it.
VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.