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A man accused of selling Mexican candy as heroin and raising his daughter in squalid conditions may soon be coming home from jail, thanks to California's overburdened penal system. Mekahlo Medina reports from Eagle Rock for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, 2014.
Police arrested a Southern California man and his girlfriend on suspicion of child endangerment last week after they discovered deplorable conditions in their home where candy was being sold as heroin, officials said.
Thomas Cassillas, 38, and Vanessa Hidalgo, 36, were arrested March 18, during a probation compliance check in the 4700 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard.
Officers described the home in which they lived with their 11-year-old daughter "in disarray" and an "unkept and a filthy environment," said Tahnee Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the Glendale Police Department.
"There were dogs in the home, they had defecated and urinated in the home and there was rotting food," she said.
Aside from the home’s condition, officers also unravelled Cassillas alleged scheme.
”He was using Mexican candy to sell his heroin," Lightfoot said.
Neighbors say they were unaware of Casillas' activities.
"(He was a) very nice person, very quiet," neighbor Sally Tipple said. "I haven’t the slightest idea what goes on in their house."
Further investigation of the black tarry substance revealed that the "heroin" Cassillas was selling was, in fact, fake, according to a statement released by the Glendale Police Department.
"They believed it to be heroin, but they soon learned after looking at text devices and other phones at the location that their customers were complaining that their dope was bad," Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
During the search, ammunition and substances that looked like methamphetamines were also discovered, Lightfoot said.
The substances later tested negative for drugs.
Both Casillas and Hidalgo were arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and felon possession of ammunition.
Casillas is on felony pareole for dealing drugs and possession of an illegal fire arm. Because of prison realignment, Casillas will not go back to prison. He is in county jail, but it is unclear for how long.
"It's very possible he could be released,” Lorenz said.
Their daughter was placed in child protective services.