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Husband of owner of fentanyl-ridden NYC day care pleads guilty to charges related to baby's death

Four children were poisoned by fentanyl at the day care in September, and one of them — a 1-year-old — died.
Divino Niño day care
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 10, 2024

The husband of the owner of a Bronx day care where four children were poisoned by fentanyl, leading to a 1-year-old's death, pleaded guilty to federal charges Monday.

Felix Herrera Garcia was the fourth person arrested in the case that began Sept. 16, 2023, when three kids — 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici, a 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl — wouldn't wake up from nap time at Divino Niño day care, operated by Herrera-Garcia's wife, Grei Mendez.

Dominici died, and the two others along with another 2-year-old boy were hospitalized after being exposed to fentanyl at the center, which was housed in a Bronx apartment. Authorities later found drug-packing materials as well as fentanyl and other narcotics amounting to more than 10 kilograms under a trapdoor in the floor and underneath mats where children played and slept.

Surveillance footage captured Herrera-Garcia carrying two full shopping bags out of the apartment's back alley minutes before responders arrived to help the children. He was on the run from authorities for more than a week after, eventually being taken into custody in Sinaloa, Mexico.

Felix Herrera-Garcia is seen.

Crime

Husband of NYC day care owner arrested in Mexico after toddler's death

Alex Arger
5:50 PM, Sep 26, 2023

On Monday — the day the 35-year-old was set to begin trial — Herrera Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death and serious bodily injury, one count of possession with intent to distribute narcotics resulting in death and one count of possession with intent to distribute narcotics resulting in serious bodily injury. All three counts carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, the Justice Department said.

Cases are still pending against Mendez and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, who rented a room from Mendez in the apartment and is Herrera Garcia's cousin. Both face murder and drug charges.

Two weeks ago, Renny Antonio Parra Paredes pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute narcotics and "stipulated that his conduct caused death and serious bodily injury" in connection to the poisonings, the DOJ said. Officials said he played an "instrumental role" in selling the large quantities of fentanyl from the apartment, where he was making daily trips in the weeks leading up to the incident.