After 1-year-old, Nicholas Feliz Dominici, tragically passed away from being exposed to lethal doses of opioids at a Bronx daycare center, police have raided a drug mill just 6 blocks away to discover $1.5 million worth of fentanyl.
A law enforcement source told reporters that they arrested an alleged drug trafficker, 42-year- old Juan Gabriel Herrera Vargas. Officers were watching Vargas as he transported suspicious luggage, they approached him as he left the subway and “he gave the investigators his wallet and ID, and then he fled leaving the suitcase with 13 kilos of fentanyl.” He continued to flee the officers and jumped a fence back to the apartment building that held the drug mill.
The next time Vargas was spotted leaving the building, he was toting a rolling suitcase as police moved in and made the arrest. The suitcase contained around 50,000 glassines, which are exceptionally common packaging for drugs. After arresting Vargas around 9PM, police raided the apartment building around 11PM.
Upon entering the apartment-turned-drug mill, police found a kilogram of fentanyl, six pounds of loose, unidentified powder, 10,000 filled glassine envelopes, and other drug packaging paraphernalia including scales, stamps, and grinders. The back room of the unit was set up with tables, bright table lamps, trash bags covering the windows, and even a security camera hooked up to a TV monitor. In total, police seized an estimated $1.5 million worth of fentanyl.
DEA Special Agent Frank Tarentino told the press that “The public outcry after the poisoning death of a toddler was not enough to stop a drug mill from operating just six blocks away from that day care. Trafficking organizations use these toxic mills to prepare and package bulk drugs into stere-ready glassines for distribution for one reason – profit.”
Vargas is now facing multiple charges, including operating as a major trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees, and criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget G. Brennan, told reporters that “the conduct is shockingly brazen, especially in a city still grieving the overdose death of a young child who lost his life at a nearby daycare center.”
Along with Vargas’ drug-related arrest, 4 people have been charged for the fentanyl-related overdose of Nicholas Feliz Dominici, including daycare owner Grei Mendez and her husband Felix Herrera.