First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
A Los Angeles man is expected to be arraigned in federal court on Tuesday in connection with the July overdose death of a Glendale girl.
Johnny Castillo, 18, was arrested Monday on a federal grand jury indictment that alleges Castillo provided fentanyl-laced pills to the 15-year-old girl prior to her fatal overdose, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The indictment, which was filed on Friday, Dec. 10, charges Castillo with one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, two counts of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of possession of a firearm with no serial number in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Castillo was arrested at 10:10 p.m. Monday and booked into custody at 10:51 p.m. with no bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He was released to another agency at 7:31 a.m. Tuesday.
The case originated with the Glendale Police Department, which responded on the afternoon of July 8 to the girl’s home, according to department spokesman Sgt. Christian Hauptmann. Responding officers were unsuccessful in trying to resuscitate the girl and detectives launched an investigation soon after.
Hauptmann said Glendale’s detectives connected Castillo with “being involved in the direct sale of these illegal drugs to her,” developed the case and asked the DEA to take it on as a federal case, given the severity of the crime.
“Glendale detectives did all of the work and were able to get this case to the DEA for a federal grand jury indictment,” he said. “What happens at that point is that they ‘adopt’ the case.”
Castillo previously had been arrested by GPD this year, on July 13, as part of a narcotics investigation, according to Hauptmann. Detectives had arrested Castillo on charges of making drugs sales and possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled substance, Hauptmann added, after allegedly finding Castillo in possession of a loaded handgun, a “substantial” amount of prescription narcotics, $4,000 in cash and other evidence of drug sales.
Sheriff’s Department records indicate that Castillo posted a $50,000 bail later that day. Hauptmann said he did not know whether the two investigations were strictly connected but that the DEA had taken on that prior investigation as well.
Hauptmann said there have been 193 reported overdoses from controlled substance use in Glendale this year, of which 10 were fatal. In 2020, there were 77 overdoses with 21 deaths.