U.S. charges pair after deadly fentanyl is found on top of playmats at NYC day care

The operator of a NYC daycare and a relative are facing federal drug charges after a 1-year-old boy died and three others fell ill from exposure to fentanyl found at the facility.

Details of the Incident: Grei Mendez and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, who run the Bronx-based Divino Niño Daycare, have been arrested following a fatal opioid exposure incident.
* Four children, including a 8-month-old girl, were affected, leading to the death of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici.
* A one-kilogram block of fentanyl was found stored on top of children’s play mats.
* Medical teams had to administer Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote, to all four children.

A Deeper Look: Authorities found evidence suggesting a large-scale drug operation within the daycare premises.
* Brito’s rented room contained a “kilo press” used for recompressing drugs in powder form, with two other presses found elsewhere at the daycare.
* Surveillance footage allegedly shows Mendez’s husband entering the daycare empty-handed and exiting carrying heavy shopping bags, raising suspicions of hiding evidence.
* An inspection of Mendez’s phone revealed that she had deleted approximately 21,526 messages from an encrypted messaging application dating from March 2021 to the day the incident occurred.

Implications and Charges: Mendez and Brito face extensive charges connected to the fatal incident.
* Initially charged with local murder charges, the duo now also face federal drug chargers.
* Mendez’s lawyer has claimed his client was unaware of Brito’s activities in the room.
* The daycare, Divino Niño Daycare, was licensed and registered with a listed capacity of eight children, and had recently passed an unannounced annual inspection.

Next Steps: Federal drug charges won’t affect the Bronx prosecutors’ plans to pursue a murder case against Mendez and Brito.
* The case is due to be considered by a grand jury later this week.

View original article on NPR

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