NEW YORK. New York has been rocked by the case of the one-year-old who died after inhaling fentanyl at a Bronx daycare that drug dealers used as a front.
But not everyone is surprised.
– The dark days from the crack epidemic in the 80s are here again. My heart is breaking, sighs Jorge Gonzales, neighbor of the camouflaged drug center.
It was, as we previously reported, last Friday that police and paramedics were called to the Divino Nino Daycare in the Bronx neighborhood of Kingsbridge, where four children were reported to be sick.
Shockingly, it turned out that the children had apparently inhaled fentanyl, the deadly opioid that has claimed so many lives in the United States over the past decade, and were very ill.
A one-year-old boy died from his injuries and the other victims – two two-year-old boys and an eight-month-old girl – are still being treated in hospital. In one case, the condition is described as critical.
Suspected of using the daycare center as a front
During the house search, the police found a kilo of fentanyl on the premises, as well as equipment used in drug trafficking, and the following day, the director Grei Mendez and a neighbor were arrested, suspected of having used the day care center as a mere front. Mendez’s husband is also a suspect, but still at large. They are accused of, among other things, murder, manslaughter and drug offences.
“These people have acted incredibly recklessly and depravedly,” said a statement from the Bronx district attorney’s office.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams agrees.
– It is complete madness that we lost a child to this dangerous drug, he rages.
– We must bring about a national gathering and stop the influx into our city.
But judging by comments from neighbors in Kingsbridge, it may be too late.
“My heart bleeds”
Jorge Gonzales, a 61-year-old who has lived in the area most of his life, is not particularly surprised by the tragedy at the day care center.
– My heart bleeds for this neighborhood. I was there during the worst period in the 80s, when people smoked crack openly. I thought we had those days behind us, but now they are back, he tells the New York Post.
– Just go down to the thoroughfare Kingsbridge Avenue and have a look. When it’s not raining, you have to step over broken ones that lie in drifts on the sidewalks. You don’t think it happens, but it does.
Abnar Reynoso, another neighbor, has similar experiences.
– Kingsbridge was never the best area, but people used to be careful about their dignity. Now they are scattered over the pavements, he says.
– You think…can the city really just let this happen? This is a health crisis.
Bronx police sources the New York Post has been in contact with confirm that image.
– It is a big problem. But no one seems to care, says one such source.