A third person has been charged in the death of a 1-year-old boy who died after being exposed to fentanyl at a home-based Bronx day care, federal prosecutors said on Monday.
The man, Renny Antonio Parra Paredes, was charged in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday with conspiracy to distribute narcotics that resulted in the boy’s death, according to a news release from the Southern District of New York.
The charges also relate to the poisoning of three other children exposed to fentanyl at the day care, which was run out of an apartment where Mr. Paredes was living, prosecutors said. He remains in custody pending his next court appearance.
Grei Mendez, 36, who ran the day care, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, a 41-year-old man who lived in the apartment, also were charged with murder after the death of Nicholas Feliz Dominici this month.
Ms. Mendez’s husband was described as a co-conspirator in court papers filed by prosecutors, but the U.S. attorney did not specify her relationship with Mr. Paredes on Monday.
Fentanyl is a potent opioid used widely across the city, often in plain sight. It is among the most lethal drugs, contributing to the roughly 3,200 overdose-related deaths citywide in 2022 — a record high, according to an annual report from the city’s special narcotics prosecutor’s office. The ingestion of only a small amount can kill a child.
On Sept. 15, around 2:45 p.m., emergency medical workers answered a 911 call at Divino Niño, run by Ms. Mendez out of an apartment on Morris Avenue.
There they found Nicholas, a 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl unconscious and unresponsive, the police said. Another ill child was taken to a hospital by his parents. All children showed signs of opioid exposure.
Law enforcement officials discovered one kilogram of fentanyl near the children’s nap mats and hoards of narcotics stored under the floor, according to prosecutors who released photographs of the stash. Glassine envelopes used to package and sell drugs, which had been stamped with the words “Red Dawn,” were also among the paraphernalia.
Ms. Mendez, Mr. Brito and Mr. Paredes, who is known as “El Gallo,” conspired to distribute the opioid from July through September, according to federal prosecutors.
Ms. Mendez and Mr. Brito were charged with murder in criminal court in the Bronx. They also face federal charges, including one count of possession with the intent to distribute narcotics resulting in death and one count of conspiracy.
If convicted, they could face a maximum sentence of life in prison, Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a news conference last week.
On Monday, Mr. Williams said in a statement that he promised officials “would continue to work to bring those involved in the child poisonings at Divino Niño day care to justice.”
Mr. Paredes’s “arrest is one more step toward obtaining justice for the child-victims of this heinous offense and their families,” he added.