Update, Sept. 19, 2023 at 3:05 PM:
Police say a kilo of fentanyl was stored on top of a play mat used for napping in a daycare center in the Bronx, NY.
Officials didn’t say when the drug was stored on the play mat.
A 1-year-old boy died after he was exposed to the drug. Three other children – ages 2 months to 2 years – are recovering at a hospital.
The children were found unconscious after apparently inhaling fentanyl particles on the play mat at the home-based Divino Niño daycare in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx on Friday.
Daycare owner Grei Mendez called 911 on Friday afternoon to report that several children were unresponsive in her daycare.
After speaking with a 911 dispatcher, Mendez hung up and called a co-conspirator, police said. The co-conspirator arrived at the day care, and was then seen fleeing with two full shopping bags.
Medics treated the children with the opioid antidote Narcan at the scene before transporting them to the hospital, where Nicholas Dominici was pronounced dead.
On Saturday, police arrested Mendez, 36, and a building tenant, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, on charges of depraved indifference murder, assault and criminal possession of opioids.
A third co-conspirator is still at large.
Police say they found 1 kilo of fentanyl and a kilo press — a device used to package large quantities of drugs – inside the daycare center.
Mendez’s attorney said his client had no idea fentanyl was in a closet in her daycare center. “She called the cops. Would you call the cops if you know there is fentanyl in your apartment?”
Investigators say Mendez and Brito maintained large quantities of fentanyl “despite the daily presence of children, including infants.”
Police said the defendants were “running a drug operation from a day care center” in the Bronx.
Nicholas’ parents, Zoila Dominici and Otoniel Feliz, said their son started attending the daycare only a week ago.
Zoila said she was allowed to tour the daycare on the first day but she was told she couldn’t go inside after that day.
The children were escorted out to their parents daily to avoid “contaminating” the daycare from the outside, she said.