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Entrance to daycare in the Bronx: Drugs stored where children play?

Photo: New York Daily News / Getty Images

In the case of the death of a toddler in a New York daycare center due to poisoning with the drug fentanyl, the investigations against the head of the facility and another suspect have been expanded. The 36-year-old Grei M. and Carlisto A. B., who lived in the same house as her, have to answer before a federal court, among other things, for conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death. This was announced by the US Department of Justice.

Previously, the two had already been accused in a state court – among other things, for a homicide.

»The Worst Nightmare of Parents«

On Friday, a total of four children under the age of three had suffered fentanyl poisoning in the daycare center. One of the children, aged one year, had died as a result. The children had visited the facility in the Bronx, New York. According to the authorities, M. had stored fentanyl there in order to trade it. Both suspects were arrested on Saturday.

Other people are said to have been involved in the trade in fentanyl, which has been going on since at least July. According to the police, large quantities of the extremely strong narcotic were stored in the nursery. The officers would have found a kilogram of the drug over children's play mats.

"This death and drug poisoning is a parent's worst nightmare," said Frank Tarentino of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The incident illustrates the "danger that fentanyl poses to every New Yorker." Prosecutor Damian Williams accused the head of the daycare center that instead of taking care of the children, she had stored fentanyl "exactly where the children ate, slept and played".

M. denied in court that he knew about the drug deals. The 36-year-old's lawyer said the allegations related to the actions of his client's husband – the husband is currently on the run. The federal prosecutor's office, on the other hand, accuses M. of having been involved in the drug trafficking ring and of having helped her husband escape. She is said to have called her husband before dialing the emergency number when several children did not wake up from their afternoon nap.

Husband helped escape?

Minutes after these calls, the husband was seen entering the Bronx apartment and then carrying at least two full shopping bags out of the building down a back alley.

Fentanyl is used in medicine as a powerful painkiller. However, the synthetic opioid is also sold illegally – as a pill, powder or liquid. For a few years now, the U.S. has been inundated with fentanyl and other low-cost opioids.