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Husband of owner of day care where baby died from fentanyl pleads guilty to federal charges

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(NEW YORK) — The husband of the owner of the New York City day care where a 1-year-old died of fentanyl poisoning pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges, officials said.

In September 2023, Felix Herrera Garcia was seen fleeing the Bronx day care out a back alley, carrying two heavy shopping bags while children were suffering from the effects of fentanyl, officials said. Herrera Garcia fled to Mexico after the death and was eventually arrested in Mexico after a weeklong manhunt.

A 1-year-old boy, Nicholas Dominici, died, and three other children, ranging in age from 8 months to 2 years, were hospitalized and treated with Narcan, police said.

Herrera Garcia, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death, one count of possession with intent to distribute resulting in death and one count of possession with intent to distribute resulting in serious bodily injury, officials said.

All three counts carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

Fentanyl was stored, in part, in a trapdoor beneath the day care floor, officials said. Investigators also found a kilo of fentanyl stored on kids’ play mats, according to court documents.

Herrera Garcia’s wife, Grei Mendez, pulled their 2-year old son from her own day care prior to the incident after she worried he was exhibiting signs of fentanyl exposure. Mendez never reported the suspected exposure to police, according to sources, and did not allow the boy to return to the facility. However, she kept the day care open for other children.

Cases are pending against Mendez and her cousin.

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