By Mary O’KEEFE
Employees at Greenlight Hydroponics Store have been linked to an illegal marijuana grow. Plants, cash and weapons were found at the store, a Van Nuys warehouse and two residences. The marijuana found by Glendale investigators is valued to be more than $200,000.
Glendale police in the North Command area (La Crescenta, Montrose and far north Glendale) received information concerning illegal marijuana grow and possible sales linked to employees at the Greenlight Hydroponics Store, 2615 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose.
North Command officers began an investigation that included surveillance of the employees and owners of the store.
Glendale Narcotics Unit joined the investigation, which led them to a warehouse in Van Nuys.
“The investigation has been ongoing for a few months,” said Sgt. Pasache, Glendale Narcotics Unit.
Narcotic officers conducted surveillance on the employee/manager, Glenn Poppler, 42, and followed him from his home to a warehouse in Van Nuys, Pasache added.
“Detectives saw Poppler leave the warehouse,” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz. “They detained him.”
While Poppler was being detained, detectives continued the surveillance and allegedly witnessed the owner of the Montrose store, Steve Nemenyi, 47, and another man later identified as Mark Mayer, 46, exiting the warehouse.
Search warrants were served on May 24 at several locations including the Greenlight Hydroponics Store where they found two pounds of marijuana, little canisters and bags to dispense marijuana.
“The search at the warehouse found about 700 plants as well as 10 pounds of [finished] marijuana,” Pasache said.
Finished marijuana is dried and ready for sale.
Another warrant was served on Nemenyi, who at first allegedly gave investigators the address to his mother’s home as his own residence.
“We found his home in Northridge. We found 20 to 30 pounds of marijuana and a big bag of currency, along with two handguns and a part for a grenade launcher,” Pasache said.
Detectives found 150 plants and 10 pounds of finished marijuana at Poppler’s residence. He had converted his garage into a growing center.
“The North Area Command officers are actively involved in seeking out those that want to distribute narcotics to our residents and youth in La Crescenta and Montrose areas. The sales of drugs will not be tolerated and will be investigated to its fullest extent,” stated Glendale police North Commander Lt. Scott Bickle. “My goal is to provide a safe environment for our citizens and make it very difficult for those that want to sell drugs in our communities. As you can see by the result of the search warrants, those involved in the sales of marijuana keep themselves armed to protect their grows and product.”
Pasache said these types of arrests are common since the passing of the Compassionate Use Act, which was passed in 1996 allowing sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The marijuana that is grown by these types of local growers is usually very good.
All three suspects were arrested and have been released on $100,000 bail. All are due in Van Nuys Municipal Court on Friday.