Third person charged after suspected fentanyl death of one-year-old at New York day care centre

Four young children attending the nursery were treated for opioid poisoning, and 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici is believed to have died from the exposure. Credit: AP/ Facebook via Yeissy Dominici

Police investigating the suspected fentanyl poisoning of a toddler have charged a third person.

Four young children showed signs of opioid exposure at a New York City nursery on 15 September, with one-year-old Nicholas Dominci pronounced dead.

On Monday, Renny Antonio Parra Paredes, 38, was charged with narcotics distribution resulting in death.

Federal prosecutors said Paredes, who also went by “El Gallo,” played an “instrumental role” in selling large quantities of fentanyl and other drugs that were packaged and stored inside the facility – including on mats used by children for sleeping and under a "trap floor".

It comes after Grei Mendez, the owner of the Bronx nursery, and Carlisto Acevedeo Brito, a tenant of the apartment, were charged with murder of "depraved indifference" last week.

Police arrested Grei Mendez and Carlisto Acevedo Brito last week

Authorities said the search is continuing for the alleged ringleader of the drug peddling operation.

“Today’s arrest is one more step toward obtaining justice for the child-victims of this heinous offence and their families,” attorney Damien Williams said in a statement.

Police are continuing to search for Mendez’s husband, who was seen leaving the apartment carrying two full shopping bags minutes after Mendez warned him about the unresponsive children.

At a court hearing last week, an attorney for Mendez said his client had panicked after finding the children in her care were not waking up from their naps, but argued the drug dealing allegations were “about Ms. Mendez’s husband, not her.”

A search of the nursery revealed a kilogram of fentanyl on top of children’s play mats in a cupboard and a stash of drugs hidden inside the floor where children played, including glassine envelopes bearing a “Red Dawn” stamp, according to court documents.

That same stamp was allegedly found in the apartment where Paredes was staying, along with a stash of other drug supplies.

Mobile phone location data suggested Paredes made regular stops at the Bronx nursery, while text messages show a phone number labeled “El Gallo” in regular communication with Brito about the operation.

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