Drugs hidden in Bronx day care where toddler died of fentanyl overdose

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Police reveal shocking photos of narcotics stash

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has released photos of the drugs that were found hidden under a floor trapdoor at a Bronx day care center, where a 1-year-old boy died of a fentanyl overdose last week. The photos show bags of white powder, pills, and syringes that were discovered in the play area of the Divino Nino Daycare. The police said the drugs were worth about $100,000 on the street.

The day care owner, Grei Mendez De Ventura, 36, and her neighbor, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, were arrested on Saturday and charged with multiple counts of murder, manslaughter, assault, child endangerment, and drug possession. They are also facing federal charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death and narcotics distribution resulting in death, which carry maximum sentences of life in prison.

Four children exposed to fentanyl at day care

The tragic incident occurred on Friday, September 15, 2023, when the police were called to the day care around 2:30 p.m. They found three children – a 1-year-old boy, a 2-year-old boy, and an 8-month-old girl – all unconscious in the basement. First responders administered Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose, to all three children in an attempt to revive them. However, one of them, Nicholas Dominici, died at Montefiore Medical Center. The other two children survived and were taken to BronxCare Health System.

Drugs hidden in Bronx day care

Another 2-year-old boy, who had left the day care around 12:15 p.m., was also found “acting lethargic and unresponsive” by his mother at home. He was brought to the same hospital where he was given Narcan, which saved his life. The police said all four children tested positive for fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Day care had no violations in recent inspection

The Divino Nino Daycare was a home-based child care site under the official authority of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. It had opened in January 2023 and had its routine inspections twice in order to get its license. It also had a surprise visit on September 9, 2023, by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which cited no violations.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the DOHMH, said it was unclear what took place at the day care on Friday and that an active investigation was underway. He also said that Mayor Eric Adams’ administration had prioritized the city’s burgeoning overdose crisis in its mental health plan. “A small child – not someone we would think would be at risk of interacting with opioids – has come into contact with a powerful substance which can through either inhalation, ingestion or in touching of the skin, intoxicate the recipient,” he said.

Fentanyl overdose deaths reach record level in US

The case of the Bronx day care is not an isolated one. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 111,000 people died from a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in April 2023, reaching a record level in the country. The majority of these deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which are often mixed with other drugs or disguised as prescription pills.

Fentanyl is so deadly that even a tiny amount can be fatal. It can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled accidentally by anyone who comes into contact with it. This poses a serious risk not only for drug users but also for children, pets, and first responders who may encounter it unknowingly.

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