A man has been taken into custody in California after he fled a day care center in New York City where a child died and three others were hospitalized due to suspected fentanyl poisoning. Investigators have revealed that the day care center was being used as a drug lab, where toddlers played and napped. This latest arrest is just one of several made in connection to the tragic incident.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have announced that Felix Herrera Garcia, 34, who was being sought by U.S. investigators for almost two weeks, has been detained by authorities in Mexico. He was transferred to U.S. custody on Wednesday night in California. Herrera Garcia’s wife, who operates the day care center, and two other men had previously been arrested.
Shortly after the sudden death of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici at a day care center in the Bronx, a manhunt was initiated. While the children were taking their nap, some of them displayed symptoms of opioid poisoning and required the administration of Narcan to be revived.
Authorities discovered equipment commonly used to package drugs and a brick of fentanyl placed on top of children’s playmats during a police search.
Upon further investigation, authorities uncovered a trap door located in a play area, which ultimately led to the discovery of additional drug packages and related materials.
According to the authorities, Herrera Garcia’s wife, Grei Mendez, contacted him before dialing 911 when their children began experiencing signs of toxic opioid exposure on September 15th.
The security cameras captured him entering the building even before the medics had arrived. Two minutes later, he was seen leaving through a back alley, carrying two shopping bags that appeared to be full.
According to U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, Herrera Garcia left the daycare despite the fact that the children left behind were suffering from the effects of his toxic activities.
Prosecutors allege that Mendez took actions to cover up her involvement in the scheme, including deleting over 21,000 text messages that she had exchanged with her husband.
As of late Thursday, there was no information available regarding whether Herrera Garcia had legal representation to make a statement on his behalf. The court records did not mention the name of any attorney. Mendez’s lawyer, however, mentioned that his client was not aware of the drugs found within the facility.
State authorities have brought murder charges against Mendez and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, who both lived in the same building as the day care center, in connection with the child’s tragic death. In addition, Renny Antonio Parra Paredes was charged with narcotics distribution resulting in death on Monday.