Two people face charges including murder, manslaughter and assault.
An emotional New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday denounced the suspects accused of an alleged opioid exposure at a Bronx daycare last week that claimed the life of one child and sent three others to… hospital, and called for a “national assault” against the epidemic. .
Daycare operator Grei Mendez and tenant Carlisto Acevedo Brito were arrested on charges of murder, manslaughter and assault and were ordered held without bail following the “reckless and depraved” death of Nicholas Dominici, 1 year, prosecutors said last week.
The other three victims were hospitalized, treated with Narcan and recovering after Friday’s incident, police said.
City health inspectors conducted a surprise inspection of the establishment on September 6 and found no violations, according to municipal health commissioner Ashwin Vasan.
“I’m really sorry, but one of the things my daycare inspectors aren’t trained to do is look for fentanyl. But maybe they need to,” Vasan said at a news conference Monday evening.
Adams defended the Department of Health at the press conference, saying they had done everything they were supposed to do when it came to inspecting the daycare, but pointed out that the fentanyl crisis was expanding into the city and encroached on all horizons.
“What are we doing? What are we doing as a society to our children?” he said. “It is complete madness that we lost a child to this dangerous substance.”
The mayor showed a graph showing a small amount of fentanyl next to a penny for scale and noted that a tiny amount can kill an adult.
“Imagine what that can do to a child,” he said.
Adams warned that the drugs coming into the city are not like “the drugs of old” and cannot be left lying around homes.
“There needs to be an all-out national attack on this drug coming into our city,” he said.
The mayor said the suspects broke the trust people placed in educators.
“Part of this relationship is trust that those who care for our children will do so safely. They have broken that trust as others have done,” he said.
During their arraignments Sunday evening, the judge determined that Mendez and Brito were both flight risks.
The judge cited Mendez’s lack of citizenship, her ties to the Dominican Republic and the seriousness of the charges against her, which could carry a sentence of life in prison.
Mendez’s lawyer said she was unaware that drugs were being stocked in her daycare by Brito, her husband’s cousin, from whom she rented a room for $200 a week.
“His only crime was renting his room to someone who had one kilo,” said lawyer Andres Aranda. “There is no evidence that she did anything other than properly care for these children.”
The judge said Brito is a Dominican Republic national who is in the country illegally and also poses a flight risk.
Prosecutors said the kilogram of fentanyl was found in a hallway closet outside Brito’s bedroom, near where the children usually sleep, and that Mendez participated in “this reckless and depraved act » by renting him the room at the daycare. Drug equipment was also found inside the daycare, police said.
Police believe the children inhaled fentanyl particles during a day of drug exposure Friday.
Authorities are also looking for Mendez’s husband for questioning.
Detectives learned that Mendez spoke to her husband several times immediately after the tragedy Friday afternoon.
Authorities say they also recovered video of Méndez’s husband and others fleeing the daycare with bags during the initial confusion.
The daycare, for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, opened in January, authorities said.