Two plead guilty after fentanyl found in NYC day care led to fatal poisoning of child, sickened three others

Jun 11, 2024 | Latest News | 0 comments

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Two of the four defendants charged in connection with the fatal overdose death of a 1-year-old boy, and poisoning of three other children at a Bronx, New York, day care last fall have pleaded guilty to criminal charges ahead of their trials.

Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced Monday that 35-year-old Felix Herrera Garcia pleaded guilty to single counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death and serious bodily injury, possession with intent to distribute narcotics resulting in death, and possession with intent to distribute narcotics resulting in serious bodily injury.

The charges are all in connection with the poisoning of four children under the age of three, including one who died at a day care facility in the Bronx on Sept. 15, 2023.

Nearly two weeks ago, 38-year-old Renny Antonio Parra Paredes pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute narcotics. Part of his plea agreement stipulated that he caused death and serious bodily injury in connection to his role in the poisoning of children.

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“In September 2023, four children at a Bronx day care were poisoned by fentanyl,” Williams said. “The children were seriously injured, and one baby died. This happened because, as they admitted in court, Felix Herrera Garcia and Renny Antonio Parra Paredes operated an illegal fentanyl operation out of the center, where they processed the deadly drugs for sale. We said at the time that this case shocks the conscience of the city, and now Herrera Garcia and Parra Paredes have been brought to justice for this heinous crime.”

Garcia, who is the day care owner’s husband, was arrested in Sinaloa, Mexico, where Mexico’s Sinaloa drug trafficking cartel, once run by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is based.

Charged alongside Garcia and Parra Paredes, also known as “El Gallo,” were Divino Nino Daycare owner Grei Mendez De Ventura, 36, and neighbor Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, who were both arrested on Sept. 16 and charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death and narcotics distribution resulting in death, which carry maximum sentences of life in prison.

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Ventura and Brito also face 11 charges, including assault, depraved-indifference murder and child endangerment after a child died, and three others were injured on Sept. 15 due to possible fentanyl exposure.

Officials said two of the victims were in cardiac arrest when first responders arrived at the scene, and Narcan was used on the toddlers.

According to the complaint, Parra Paredes and others, including Mendez and Brito, between July and September 2023, conspired to distribute fentanyl, including at a day care center in the Bronx.

Despite the presence of children, including infants, Parra Paredes and the co-conspirators held large quantities of narcotics, including a kilogram of fentanyl stored on top of children’s play mats, and large amounts of suspected narcotics in traps located in the floor of the room that children played and slept on, the federal complaint states.

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A search of the day care facility resulted in the discovery of materials to package narcotics, like glassine envelopes stamped with “RED DAWN” in red ink and used to distribute drugs.

After Parra Paredes was arrested, a search was executed at his apartment which revealed shopping bags with tools and instruments used to prepare and distribute narcotics, such as strainers, tape, a grinder, plastic bags and digital scales.

Investigators also found two clear plastic bags filled with a grayish powder and a rectangular-shaped package suspected to contain narcotics, as well as envelopes stamped with “RED DAWN,” like what was found in the day care facility.

Along with the envelopes, investigators found the “RED DAWN” stamp tool in the apartment.

Garcia and Parra Paredes each face a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison for each count.

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