Criminal Charges in Bronx Daycare Fentanyl Poisoning Case
In Manhattan, New York, federal court, a criminal complaint was unsealed today, charging Grei Mendez, aged 36, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, aged 41, both residents of the Bronx, New York.
They are facing charges of narcotics possession with intent to distribute resulting in death and conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death.
These charges are in connection with a tragic incident involving the poisoning of four children, all under the age of three, at a daycare facility in the Bronx. Regrettably, one of the children lost their life.
Both Mendez and Acevedo Brito are currently in custody and are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer E. Willis.
DOJ’s Commitment to Combat Fentanyl-Related Tragedies
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco expressed the tragic nature of the charges, emphasizing the fentanyl poisoning of innocent American children.
The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable individuals involved in the supply and distribution of fentanyl, a dangerous drug flooding communities. Protecting the vulnerable remains a top priority.
U.S. Attorney’s Condemnation of Daycare Drug Operation
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York strongly condemned the actions of the accused.
Instead of ensuring the well-being of the children under their care, Mendez and her co-conspirators allegedly put them in grave danger by running a narcotics operation within the daycare premises.
The presence of a significant quantity of deadly fentanyl within a space where children ate, slept, and played is deeply troubling.
DEA’s Vigilance in Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis
Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s New York Field Division highlighted the dangers of fentanyl, which poses a significant threat to New Yorkers.
The defendants’ actions, leading to a child’s death and the poisoning of three others, exemplify the severe consequences of fentanyl abuse.
Tarentino commended the efforts of law enforcement agencies in investigating this tragic case.
NYPD’s Role in Seeking Justice
Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban of the New York Police Department (NYPD) acknowledged the nightmarish nature of the alleged crimes.
The accused drug traffickers operated within a daycare facility, demonstrating a complete disregard for the safety of children.
Commissioner Caban expressed gratitude to the dedicated investigators from the NYPD and the DEA, as well as their partners, for their relentless pursuit of justice on behalf of the most vulnerable members of the community.
Allegations Against Mendez and Acevedo Brito
According to the complaint, from at least July 2023 through at least September 2023, Mendez and Acevedo Brito, along with others, conspired to distribute fentanyl, even within a children’s daycare center in the Bronx.
Shockingly, large quantities of fentanyl, including a kilogram of the drug, were stored in proximity to areas where young children spent their time.
Additionally, the daycare premises contained items specifically designed for the distribution of narcotics, such as “kilo presses.” These presses are commonly used by narcotics traffickers to process and package drugs for sale.
Child Victims and Tragic Consequences
As a result of the alleged drug conspiracy, on or about September 15, four children, all under the age of three, experienced poisoning from fentanyl exposure while at the daycare.
Prior to the arrival of emergency personnel, Mendez and an unnamed co-conspirator removed evidence from the daycare. Tragically, a one-year-old boy lost his life, while three other children were hospitalized with serious injuries.
Involvement of Acevedo Brito
Acevedo Brito, who resided within the daycare facility, was found to be a cousin of the unnamed co-conspirator.
One of the kilo presses used for drug compaction was located in Acevedo Brito’s bedroom.
A search of Acevedo Brito’s phone revealed multiple messages suggestive of his involvement in narcotics trafficking.
Serious Charges and Penalties
Both Mendez and Acevedo Brito are facing charges in count one for conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death and in count two for narcotics distribution resulting in death.
These charges carry a minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. Sentencing will be determined by a federal district judge, considering various factors, including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Multi-Agency Investigation and Prosecution
This case involved a comprehensive investigation conducted by multiple agencies, including the DEA, NYPD, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) New York Strike Force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s Digital Forensic Unit, and the Complex Analytical and Social Media Enhancement Team at the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
Coordination with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office was integral to the case.
Presumption of Innocence
It’s essential to remember that a complaint represents allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.