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Police say they found a kilo of fentanyl in a closet at a daycare center in New York where a 1-year-old boy died.

2023-09-18T21:55:14.778Z

Highlights: "He was very smart. He repeated everything you told him," the mother of the deceased boy said. The owner of the center faces charges of murder with depraved indifference and possession of narcotics. Police say they found a kilo of fentanyl in a closet at the children's center. Investigators also found in Acevedo Brito's bedroom some items that are used by traffickers to package large quantities of drugs. The center, registered with city's Department of Children and Family Services, opened last January but passed a surprise inspection a week earlier.


"He was very smart. He repeated everything you told him," the mother of the deceased boy said, adding that the place had been recommended to her and it seemed to comply with all the rules. The owner of the center faces charges of murder with depraved indifference and possession of narcotics.


The parents of Nicholas Dominici, the 1-year-old boy who died after apparent exposure to opioids at a New York children's center, have said their son had started attending the facility only a week ago.

"He was very smart. He repeated everything you told him," Zoila Dominici, the boy's mother, said in an interview with CBS New York. "I had a lot of love. Everyone who knew him appreciated him, all our neighbors."

"We talked to those responsible... They recommended that place to us and apparently they met all the rules. We were on the waiting list for our son to qualify," Dominici explained.

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Police say they are searching for the husband of the center's owner who faces charges in connection with the boy's death.

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This comes after the owner of the establishment, Grei Mendez, 36, and a tenant of the building, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, were arrested Saturday in connection with the case. Both were charged with murder with depraved indifference, assault and criminal possession of narcotics.

The arrests came a day after authorities discovered that four toddlers — ages 8 months to 2 years — showed signs of suspected opioid overdoses after spending time at Divino Niño daycare in the Bronx.

Nicholas Dominici was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Three others were resuscitated after doctors administered doses of Narcan, a blood-thinning drug, according to authorities.

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The boy's family lives within walking distance of the daycare, which was recommended by the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center.

The center, registered with the city's Department of Children and Family Services, opened last January but passed a surprise inspection a week earlier.

[The opioid crisis isn't just a white problem: Deaths among Hispanics have skyrocketed]

"Apparently it passed all the inspections. Supposedly that place was only for nurseries but, from what we have heard, there are rumors that they also rented rooms, "said Otoniel Feliz.

Dominici's cause of death remains under investigation by the city's coroner. According to NBC News affiliate WNBC, investigators believe a drug trafficking operation was taking place at the daycare.

Police say they found a kilo of fentanyl in a closet at the children's center. Investigators also found in Acevedo Brito's bedroom some items that are used by traffickers to package large quantities of drugs.

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Mendez's family had no comment and his lawyer, Andres Aranda, blamed Acevedo Brito, who is also a cousin of Mendez's husband.

"She had no idea what was in the closet," Aranda said. "She called the police. Would you call the police if you knew there was fentanyl in your apartment?"

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Acevedo Brito is scheduled to appear before the judge again on Friday and was remanded in custody without bail Sunday night.

New York City, like much of the country, has seen levels of opioid-related deaths rise, with the vast majority of deaths now attributed to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be more than 50 times more potent than heroin.

At a news conference Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams said Dominici's death underscored the challenges the city faces in its fight against opioids.

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"This crisis is real, and it's a real wake-up call for people who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes," Adams said. "Mere contact is deadly to an adult and extremely deadly to a child."

Studies have shown that young people are increasingly dying from unintentional drug overdoses, and opioids are now the biggest contributor to fatal poisonings among young children.

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In cases where children were exposed to opioids, nearly all were found to involve children ingesting the substance orally, rather than touching or inhaling it, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Authorities have not said how they believe the children came into contact with the drug.

With information from CBS New York and WNBC

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-09-18

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