Criminal complaint: New York day care provider deleted 21,000 messages after child’s fentanyl death

NEW YORK – Court documents allege that the woman who ran a New York day care center where a child died from fentanyl last week had deleted more than 21,000 encrypted messages to her husband.

As Emily’s Hope reported earlier this week, a 1-year-old child died from an overdose and three others were injured after police say they were exposed to fentanyl at Divino Niño Daycare.

The daycare operator, Grei Mendez, and a man who rented a room inside the apartment, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, are charged in state court with murder of depraved indifference. They are also facing federal narcotics conspiracy charges. Investigators are still trying to locate Brito’s husband.

“Tragedy doesn’t begin to describe the events that took place at Divino Niño Daycare.  This death and drug poisonings are every parent’s worst nightmare and clearly define the danger fentanyl poses to every New Yorker.  Fentanyl kills indiscriminately, and the defendants’ callous and irresponsible disregard to safety led to two of the most heinous acts imaginable, causing the death of a child and poisoning three other children,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III said.

In addition to deleting text messages, prosecutors say Mendez called her husband two times before dialing 911 to report the emergency.  As the children were unconscious, Mendez allegedly made several more phone calls to her husband, who then came back to the day care for a couple of minutes and left out the back alleyway with two full shopping bags. Despite this, the complaint states that Mendez told police that there had been no other visitors to the day care that day.

Police Chief Joseph Kenny revealed that officers found a kilogram of fentanyl at the day care, including some near a mat where the children had been sleeping. They also found three-kilo presses, which are typically used to package and combine illegal drugs. Furthermore, according to ABC7 New York, investigators have found a trap door on the floor of the apartment.

“This case reflects every parent’s worst nightmare.  These alleged drug traffickers brazenly went about their illicit business in one of the most ill-conceived locations imaginable, but they will be held accountable,” NYPD Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban said.