Third arrest made after 1-year-old boy dies of suspected fentanyl overdose at Bronx day care center, 3 other children were exposed

New York

A third person has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of a 1-year-old boy from exposure to the highly potent drug fentanyl at a Bronx day care where large quantities of narcotics were hidden under a trap floor. Was stored. According to federal prosecutors, the room was where children played and slept.

Authorities identified the man as 38-year-old Rene Antonio Parra Paredes and charged him in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday with conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death.

CNN has contacted Paredes’ attorney for comment.

While a third person is now in custody, law enforcement officials are still searching for the husband of one of the arrested co-conspirators, who was seen running away from a day care center after overdosing with plastic bags , which authorities believe contained fentanyl.

“Today’s arrest is another step toward justice for the child victims of this heinous crime and their families,” said Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

One-year-old Nicholas Dominici died after suspected fentanyl exposure at Divino Nino Day Care Center earlier this month. Three other children – two 2-year-old boys and an 8-month-old girl – were hospitalized after being exposed to suspected fentanyl and experiencing acute opioid intoxication.

Paredes, who was arrested Saturday at an apartment in the Bronx, allegedly conspired to distribute fentanyl through at least July 2023, including to day care centers, authorities said.

According to a criminal complaint, Paredes and his alleged co-conspirators, Grai Mendez and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, stored drugs at the day care — including a kilogram of fentanyl on children’s playmats.

According to the complaint, they placed materials for packing drugs and narcotics in hidden compartments known as “traps” in rooms where children played and slept. According to the complaint, those distribution materials included glassine envelopes with the words “Red Dawn” on the front.

According to the complaint, investigators were able to trace phone calls and text messages from Mendez and Brito that led them to Paredes. When investigators went to the apartment to arrest Paredes, they found a shopping bag filled with equipment needed to distribute narcotics, including strainers, tape, plastic bags, digital scales and “RED” written on the front, investigators said. Don” marked glassine envelopes. According to the complaint, after some further investigation the investigators found only the stamp.

A federal law enforcement official told CNN last week that investigators believe the suspects were mid-level drug distributors who were tasked with cutting fentanyl with other drugs or household items, including baby powder.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Paredes had a “significant role” in the plot, Tarantino III said in a statement, and in connection with the deaths of Nicholas and three other children from drug exposure.

“Smugglers often hide smuggled goods in obscure or suspicious locations without regard for the safety of others,” Tarantino III said in a statement. “In this case, the floorboards of the daycare were used to hide the items, endangering the lives of children who were innocently sitting on the floor to play.”

If convicted, Paredes faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, officials said.

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