Heroin hidden as Mexican candy

Police recovered Mexican candy in a home, which officers said Thomas Casillas was allegedly selling as heroin. (Courtesy of the Glendale Police Department / March 18, 2014)

A 38-year-old man has been accused of child abuse after police discovered deplorable living conditions inside his home, where he had been allegedly trying to pass off Mexican candy as heroin.

Thomas Casillas, 38, and his girlfriend, Vanessa Hidalgo, 36, face charges for maintaining a harmful living situation for their 11-year-old daughter inside their home in the 4700 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard in Los Angeles, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.

"The residence was in complete disarray and smelled of urine and feces and rotting food," Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot said.

The pair was arrested on March 18 after police reportedly found ammunition and what they believed to be heroin inside their home. Police also found methamphetamine pipes scattered throughout the home as well as materials used to package drugs, she said.

But not long after, Casillas reportedly told officers the heroin that they discovered was in fact Mexican candy, police said.

Casillas had apparently received text messages from buyers saying his drugs were "weak," Lightfoot said.

Casillas has been previously convicted of possessing drugs for sale and carrying a loaded firearm, according to court records. Hidalgo was convicted of child abuse in 2001.

According to detectives, Hidalgo was on probation for her role in a 2008 gang-related shooting. She is reportedly affiliated with a Northeast Los Angeles gang, police said.

The Department of Children and Family Services took the couple's daughter into protective custody after determining the home's living conditions were not suitable.

The couple pleaded not guilty to charges stemming for last week's arrest.

They are scheduled to appear April 2 in a Los Angeles courtroom for their preliminary hearing.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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