Federal prosecutors charged two Bronx daycare employees Tuesday with dealing fentanyl resulting in death in connection with the poisoning of four children younger than 3, one of whom died.
“This case reflects every parent’s worst nightmare,” New York Police Department Commissioner Edward Caban said in a statement. “These alleged drug traffickers brazenly went about their illicit business in one of the most ill-conceived locations imaginable, but they will be held accountable.”
Grei Mendez, 36, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, both of the Bronx, New York, were charged with narcotics possession with intent to distribute resulting in death and conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death.
Prosecutors alleged that over the summer, Mendez and Acevedo Brito and others conspired to distribute fentanyl, including at a children’s daycare center in the Bronx. The complaint alleges the two “maintained large quantities of fentanyl, including a kilogram of fentanyl stored on top of children’s playmats.”
On Sept. 15, four children, all younger than 3 years old, appear to have experienced the effects of poisoning from exposure to fentanyl.
Before Mendez called 911 to summon medical assistance for the children, she called another person, referred to as an unnamed co-conspirator in the complaint. That person came to the daycare, stayed for about two minutes and then left out a back alleyway carrying two shopping bags. This happened while the children were unresponsive.
Three of the children were hospitalized. The fourth child, a one-year-old boy, died.
“Tragedy doesn’t begin to describe the events that took place at Divino Niño Daycare,” said Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino III of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division. “This death and drug poisonings are every parent’s worst nightmare and clearly define the danger fentanyl poses to every New Yorker.”