Law enforcement investigators confiscated more than 40 pounds of fentanyl, worth roughly $1.5 million, only blocks from the creche in New York City where a 1-year-old died after being exposed to the drug.
According to a news release from law enforcement, the fentanyl stockpile was located six blocks from the Divino Nio Daycare Centre, where on 15 September an 8-month-old girl, two 2-year-old boys and 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici were discovered comatose in the basement.
“The public outcry after the poisoning death of a toddler was not enough to stop a drug mill from operating just six blocks away from that Daycare,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarantino said.
Juan Gabriel Herrera Vargas, 42, is accused of acting as a significant trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and illegal use of drug paraphernalia, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials.
“Herrera Vargas took danger one step further and wheeled over 40 pounds of fentanyl around the city and on the subway with no regard to public safety,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said.
According to a news release from the DEA, officers followed Vargas on Tuesday as he travelled from south to north on the tube after being seen carrying a tiny black bag to the Kingsbridge Road station.
The alleged drug dealer surrendered his wallet to law enforcement when they confronted him, then fled with a little black and tan bag. The bag contained 13 rectangular-shaped kilogramme bricks of what the police claimed to be fentanyl.
Police reported that they saw Vargas rolling a blue bag again some hours later.
Police detained Vargas and found more suspected fentanyl hidden within 25 larger packages of 50,000 glassine envelopes from the bag.
The windows at the 42-year-old’s Bronx apartment were covered in black plastic trash bags when police started searching the building.
They discovered one kilogramme of fentanyl, six pounds of loose powder, 10,000 filled glassines, and other packing materials after doing more digging.
The results of the laboratory examination of the drugs, according to the DEA, have not yet been released.
After the arrests of Renny Antonio Parra Parades, Grei Mendez De Ventura, and the neighbour Carlisto Acevedo Brito in connection with a foetal fentanyl overdose at the creche, the massive drug mill was found.
A criminal complaint accusing Parra Paredes of conspiring to distribute drugs that caused death was released by the Department of Justice.
De Ventura, the proprietor of Divino Nino Daycare, and Brito were both detained on September 16 and accused in federal court with conspiring to distribute narcotics that resulted in death and distributing narcotics that resulted in death, both of which are punishable by up to life in prison.