Last week three children from a Bronx day care were taken to the hospital and one passed away after napping on mats that were hiding a kilogram of fentanyl.
The Divino Niño day case center, located on Morris Avenue in the Bronx had recently received a “surprise” inspection visit by city officials on September 6th, during which they passed a 40- point compliancy checklist. The inspectors marked boxes that ensured “all medications, toxic substances” were “used and stored so no hazard created” as well as “poisonous, toxic, flammable and dangerous items are inaccessible to children.”
The health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, told reporters that the inspectors executed their routine inspection to ensure the safety of the day care but that searching for fentanyl is not commonplace. He told reporters, “I’m very sorry, but one of the things my child care inspectors are not trained to do is look for fentanyl. . . but maybe we need to start,” ensuring the public that the day care had not “fallen through the cracks” and that “the team did their job.”
Last Friday, EMS were called to the day care after nap time when three of the children were awoken from their naps with atypical lethargy. The police reported that the fourth child had left the day care prior to nap time. The emergency medical workers administered Narcan to reverse the overdose effects the children were suffering from and transported them to the nearest hospital. Three of the children, including the one who went home prior to nap time, were given Narcan, hospitalized and are “doing fine” as of Monday.
Tragically, one of the three that stayed at the day care for nap time was pronounced dead at the hospital. The child would have turned 2 years old this November. The cause of his death has not officially been released, however it has been announced by Police Department Chief Joseph Kenny that the other three children had fentanyl in their systems.
Upon further investigation of the day care, Chief Kenny said that police found a kilogram of fentanyl “laid underneath the mat where the children had been sleeping earlier,” as well as multiple presses used to package large quantities of drugs. The day care program owner, Grei Mendez, as well as the tenant of the bedroom in the day care, Callisto Acevedo Brito, have been charged with murder after displaying “depraved indifference” to the child’s death.
Ms Mendez’s lawyer claims that there is no indication Ms Mendez had any knowledge of the drugs, while Mr. Brito’s lawyer has not made any comments to the public. Residents close to Divino Niño claim that the building the day care is in is known for drug dealers and commonly sees fights out front. Others say that the day care building commonly plays music very loudly late into the night despite having day care responsibilities early the next mornings.
Police are currently still investigating and trying to determine whether the day care was opened with the intentions of being a front for a drug operation or not.