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A Bronx daycare owner, her husband and his cousin have appeared in court after allegedly killing a baby with a stash of fentanyl that was hidden in the building. 

Grei Mendez, 36, her husband Felix Herrera Garcia, 34, and his cousin Carlisto Brito, 41, were arraigned on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree drugs possession and four counts of first-degree assault at the Bronx Supreme Court on Thursday.

The trio were remanded in custody and are due back in court on November 27.

One-year-old Nicholas Feliz Dominici died on September 15 after being exposed to fentanyl at the Divino Niño Daycare center in the Bronx. Prosecutors allege the childcare center was being used as a front for a drug dealing.

Following Nicholas’ death, Garcia fled to Mexico and sparked an international manhunt that ultimately led to his capture 11 days later in Sinaloa. 

Grei Mendez appeared in court charged with two counts of causing death through the distribution of narcotics

Félix Garcia was arrested in the Sinaloa city of Culiacán during a traffic stop after an 11-day manhunt

Carilisto Brito, 41, is escorted through the Bronx criminal court on Thursday

Nicholas Féliz, 1, died on September 15 after ingesting fentanyl at a Bronx day care

His wife Grei Mendez reportedly called her husband twice and then deleted more than 21,000 messages before alerting the authorities to the unresponsive children. 

Nicholas was pronounced dead at the scene, while two two-year-old boys and an eight-month-old baby girl were saved with overdose-reversal drug Narcan.

Garcia was filmed by security cameras carrying plastic bags as he fled from the back door of the nursery.

Announcing Thursday’s indictment, District Attorney Darcel Clark said: ‘A beautiful little boy lost his life and three precious children aged eight months to two years became seriously ill from fentanyl poisoning.

‘This is a catastrophe. Our sorrow is matched only by outrage because these babies were shields to protect a narcotics operation. Nicholas’ death was entirely—excruciatingly—needless and avoidable. We will get justice for him, the other children and their families.’ 

In the aftermath, photos shared by police showed bags full of powder inside the ‘trap floor,’ a few steps away from a shelf of children’s toys.

According to the investigation, a kilo of fentanyl was found in a closet in the daycare, and six kilos of fentanyl, heroin and other controlled substances were found under the floor, beneath a padded mat where children napped.

Cops also found multiple devices used by traffickers for mixing drugs and pressing it into bricks.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Joe Kenny said last week ‘one grain, two grains of fentanyl can take down a grown man so even the residue itself for a small child, would cause the death.’

According to reports, there were no previous complaints made against Divino Nino Daycare.

The daycare has a capacity of eight children between the ages of six weeks to 12 years old, records show.

One of the secret hiding places for drugs found by prosecutors at the Bronx nursery

Photos released by the DA’s office show the nursery as it was found on the day the baby died

Authorities escort Grei Mendez out of a police precinct in the Bronx following her arrest in connection to the death of a one-year-old boy who died at her day care center September 15 

Herrera, the husband of the Bronx daycare owner who has been charged in the fentanyl-related death of a baby, was seen escaping the area on September 15. He was arrested in Culiacán, Mexico, 11 days later

Nicholas Féliz, 1, died at Divino Niño Daycare on September 15

Nicholas’ heartbroken father, Otoniel Feliz, 32, told DailyMail.com it had been the boy’s first week at the daycare.

‘We had a good recommendation. We were told it was a great place. It looked like a nice place,’ he explained.

But within one week of being cared for at the daycare, Nicholas ingested fentanyl – a substance that has caused a spike in overdoses across the U.S.

Otoniel said they’d been given a tour of the daycare the first time they dropped their son off and it looked like any other, with toys and kids’ furniture inside.

But after enrolling their son, Otoniel and his wife were never allowed to come back in their son often being brought to them by their caretakers, he claimed.

‘Parents don’t have permission to go inside. You see it on the first day to see where your son will be, but after that you don’t have permission to go in,’ he claimed.

‘They said they ‘don’t want contamination from the outside to go inside because they keep everything clean,’ that’s what they said.

‘My wife called me saying our child is going to hospital. We thought he was fine, 10 minutes later, my wife called me back on the way to the hospital and said he died.’

Divino Nino Daycare passed its annual unannounced inspection with zero violations on September 6, city records note after receiving its license in May.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III said: ‘As alleged, Paredes had an instrumental role in this conspiracy and is charged with narcotics distribution and death in connection with the poisoning of four children.

‘The alleged drugs and materials seized in the trap are indicative of a prolific drug packaging operation.

‘Traffickers often hide contraband in inconspicuous or unsuspecting locations with no regard for the safety of others.

‘In this case, the Daycare’s floorboards were used as concealment, putting children’s lives at risk who innocently sat on the floor to play.

‘I reiterate that DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue justice for all members of this trafficking ring.’

The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes Fentanyl as a powerful synthetic opioid that is FDA-approved to treat severe pain.

Over the past decade fentanyl has been made and distributed illegally and other illegally made synthetic opioids have been increasingly found in the drug supply.

Following Nicholas’ death, Garcia fled to Mexico and sparked an international manhunt that ultimately led to his capture 11 days later in Sinaloa

During this time fentanyl and related substances have contributed to a dramatic rise in drug overdose deaths in the United States.

The rate of drug overdose deaths involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl more than tripled in the United States from 2016 through 2021, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, and has increasingly been mixed with other illicit drugs often with lethal results.

The CDC report showed that the rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased from 5.7 per 100,000 people in 2016 to 21.6 per 100,000 in 2021.

Fentanyl-related deaths rose by about 55% in 2019-2020, and 24.1% in 2020-2021, said Merianne Rose Spencer, one of the report’s authors.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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