Police in New York discover drugs in a trapdoor at a fentanyl nursery

 Police have discovered a large quantity of fentanyl, other drugs, and paraphernalia hidden under a trapdoor at a New York City nursery where a boy died from exposure to the opioid. The nursery's owner, Grei Mendez, and her tenant, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, are facing federal charges of narcotics possession with intent to distribute resulting in death and conspiracy charges. The volume of drugs recovered could have killed 500,000 people, and investigators are said to have discovered three presses used to package kilos of drugs.

A lawyer for Mendez denied the charges and was unaware that drugs were being kept in the nursery by Brito, her husband's cousin. Surveillance footage and phone records show that Mendez called her husband several times after finding the children ill before she contacted 911. Her husband then arrived and removed several full shopping bags from the nursery.

Mendez also allegedly deleted approximately 20,000 text messages from her phone before her arrest, which authorities later retrieved. Authorities are still searching for her husband, who has been identified in court documents as a co-conspirator. He was caught on camera fleeing the scene after the incident.

Fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller 50 times more powerful than heroin, has been blamed for a rise in US drug deaths. In 2010, fewer than 40,000 people died from a drug overdose across the country, and fewer than 10% of those deaths were tied to fentanyl. By 2021, more than 100,000 people had died annually in drug overdoses, with an estimated 66% of those tied to fentanyl.


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