In a tragic incident underlining the catastrophic opioid crisis, revelations this week detail the illicit activities occurring within the walls of a Bronx daycare facility, Divino Niño Daycare, operated by Grei Mendez. The business recently saw an innocent 1-year-old, Nicholas Dominici, succumb to an opioid overdose. The ensuing investigation reveals a story of cover-ups, deleted messages, and lethal drug storage, elevating concerns over child safety in seemingly protected environments.
This fatal incident led to the unveiling of Mendez’s alleged secret life involving drug conspiracies and contemptible neglect. Authorities assert that Mendez deleted over 21,000 encrypted texts exchanged with her husband, a purported drug co-conspirator, immediately after the tragic event. Mendez and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, co-residents at the Kingsbridge apartment housing the daycare, are now faced with multiple federal charges, including “conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death.”
Bronx day care owner deleted 21,000 messages after infant’s fentanyl death: Court docs – NBC New York https://t.co/WaprVNtJVJ
— jonathan dienst (@jonathan4ny) September 19, 2023
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams described their actions as “unconscionable” and “inexcusable,” stating, “Parents entrusted Grei Mendez with the care of their children — she and her co-conspirators put them directly in harm’s way, running a narcotics operation and storing deadly fentanyl out of the very space in which the children ate, slept, and played.”
Disturbing details reveal that about one kilogram of lethal fentanyl was discovered concealed next to children’s nap mats, evidencing the utter disregard for innocent lives. Mendez maintains her ignorance of the narcotics’ presence, a claim challenged by evidence described in court documents, including surveillance footage showing Mendez’s husband removing bags from the daycare minutes before first responders’ arrival.
Mendez made desperate attempts to conceal the truth, evidenced by multiple phone conversations before dialing 911 and advising her husband to secure legal representation. The sequence of events highlighted a clear intention to evade law enforcement.
Moreover, claims made by Mendez about the cleaning of the daycare and the absence of other visitors on the day of the incident were counteracted by a statement citing the kilo press at the site “could have been placed there by a previous tenant.”
This harrowing incident is a brutal reminder of the prevailing opioid epidemic and its far-reaching tentacles extending even into sanctuaries of innocence and trust. The egregious breach of duty by those entrusted to protect and nurture has left a community in anguish.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) expressed the city’s collective frustration and grief, proclaiming, “There’s no more devastating news or tragedy than a loss of a child. Every New Yorker should be outraged by this senseless tragedy.”