Renny Antonio Parra Paredes, 38, of the Bronx, is charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death in connection with the fentanyl poisoning of four children at the Divino Niño day care on Morris Avenue on Sept. 15, the United States Attorney’s Office said Monday.
“As alleged, Paredes had an instrumental role in this conspiracy and is charged with narcotics distribution and death in connection with the poisoning of four children,” said Frank Tarentino, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New York.
Paredes is accused of working with the day care’s owner, 36-year-old Grei Mendez, and Mendez’s husband’s cousin, 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo 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 hidden in trap door compartments in the floor of the room where the children played and slept, according to authorities.
Four children who were at the day care on Sept. 15 suffered the effects of fentanyl poisoning, authorities said. The children were raced to the hospital, 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.
During a search of Paredes’ apartment, investigators found tools and instruments that are used to prepare and distribute narcotics, as well as Ziploc bags that appeared to contain narcotics, authorities said. Additionally, investigators found envelopes with “Red Dawn” stamped on them in red. Envelopes with the same “Red Dawn” stamp were found at the day care in the Bronx, according to authorities.
Paredes faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
“I promised last week that we would continue to work to bring those involved in the child poisonings at Divino Niño daycare to justice. Since then, this office and our law enforcement partners have worked around the clock to identify and apprehend additional individuals who are responsible,” said Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Police are still searching for Mendez’s husband, who was described 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,” Williams said last week. “All of that happened while the children – the babies – were suffering from the effects of fentanyl poisoning and were in desperate need of help.”
The federal complaint revealed surveillance footage showed Mendez’s husband, who hasn’t been named, going into the day care empty-handed before first responders and police arrived. Two minutes later, authorities said the husband was seen running out of a back alley of the day care carrying two shopping bags weighted down with contents.
“We’re not going to give up. We’re going to get him,” Williams said.