NEW YORK (PIX11) – The husband of the owner of a Bronx day care where a 1-year-old boy was fatally exposed to fentanyl has been arrested in Mexico, law enforcement sources said.
Felix Herrera Garcia was captured Tuesday while on a bus in Sinaloa by the United States Marshals Service and authorities with the Mexican government, sources told PIX11 News.
Garcia, the husband of 36-year-old Grei Mendez, was wanted in connection with the fentanyl poisoning of four children at the Divino Niño day care on Morris Avenue on Sept. 15, authorities said. The husband was described by authorities as an alleged co-conspirator.
Mendez allegedly called her husband twice and another person before she dialed 911 to help the unresponsive children at her day care after they were exposed to fentanyl, according to a federal complaint.
“As alleged in the complaint, before emergency personnel arrived at the day care, Mendez and a co-conspirator tried to cover up what happened,” said Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “All of that happened while the children – the babies – were suffering from the effects of fentanyl poisoning and were in desperate need of help.”
Surveillance footage showed Mendez’s husband going into the day care empty-handed before first responders and police arrived, according to the federal complaint. Two minutes later, the husband was seen running out of a back alley of the day care carrying two shopping bags weighted down with contents, authorities said.
Mendez’s husband is the fourth person to be arrested in the case. Police previously arrested Mendez, her husband’s cousin, 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, and 38-year-old Renny Antonio Parra Paredes.
Paredes, who was arrested on Monday, allegedly played “an instrumental role” in the drug operation at the day care that resulted in the deadly fentanyl poisonings of the children, according to Frank Tarentino, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New York.
Paredes is accused of working with Mendez and Brito to distribute narcotics. The drug operation at the day care was ongoing between July and September, authorities said.
Investigators found a kilogram of fentanyl stored on top of children’s playmats at the day care, as well as large quantities of suspected narcotics in hidden trap door compartments in the floor of the room where the children played and slept, according to authorities.
Three of the children were revived with Narcan at area hospitals, but 1-year-old Nicholas Feliz-Dominici could not be saved.
“Traffickers often hide contraband in inconspicuous or unsuspecting locations with no regard for the safety of others. In this case, the day care’s floorboards were used as concealment, putting children’s lives at risk who innocently sat on the floor to play,” Tarentino said.
Finn Hoogensen is a digital journalist who has covered local news for more than five years. He has been with PIX11 News since 2022. See more of his work here.