MONTROSE — Two adults and two teens were arrested Thursday night after Glendale police reportedly confiscated 36 balloons of heroin following a two-week investigation into what officials say is becoming a growing addiction among local youth.
Samantha Rofloc, 18, of Montrose, James Hamilton, 20, of La Crescenta, and a 17-year-old boy and 16 year-old girl, both from Montrose, were arrested on suspicion of possessing the heroin during a reported drug sale in the parking lot of a Mobil Station in the 2100 block of Verdugo Boulevard, police said.
Glendale Police Sgt. Scott Johnstone said the department initiated an investigation into a small ring after receiving tips from local residents about a growing number of teens using and selling heroin in the area.
Detectives saw the group drive back and forth from a “high drug traffic area” in Los Angeles before returning to Montrose Mobil gas station, where they engaged in a drug sale with a waiting motorist, Johnstone said.
Police reportedly found 24 balloons of heroin in Hamilton’s possession. Another 12 balloons were allegedly found on the 17-year-old boy.
“This is common for distributors who are waiting for a customer,” Johnstone said.
If the user or seller sees police, they can easily swallow the balloons to keep them from being found, he added. Hamilton was taken to Glendale Memorial Hospital for observation.
Hamilton, who is on parole, admitted to having a large client pool of heroin users for the past five years, Johnstone said.
“Heroin is becoming the drug of choice with teenagers,” Johnstone added.
In an interview with the Crescenta Valley Sun a year ago, Hamilton said he started smoking marijuana at the age of 12.
“Of course there are drugs here [in Crescenta Valley],” Hamilton said at the time. “It’s too easy to get around here . . . I have a problem with heroin now.”
Johnstone said Hamilton told him after this recent arrest he wanted to go to a rehabilitation center.
“You feel so bad when you see kids like this,” Johnstone said. “They seem to be going right to heroin, and sometimes it only takes using it once or twice to get addicted.”
In earlier interviews, Hamilton said it was easy to lose himself to the drug.
“When you first smoke pot, you hear all the bad things that are going to happen to you,” he said. “Then you smoke it and think, ‘That wasn’t that bad.’ You feel you have control over it.
“Then you do so much and you lose control, and then it controls you.”