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NYPD investigators find secret compartment filled with drugs inside Bronx day care where child died due to fentanyl

Sources: NYPD investigators find secret compartment filled with drugs inside Bronx day care
Sources: NYPD investigators find secret compartment filled with drugs inside Bronx day care 02:23

NEW YORK -- Police on Thursday were back at a Bronx day care where a 1-year-old died after exposure to fentanyl and several other children were sickened last week.

While executing a new search warrant, they found more drugs. That happened not long after two of the suspects arrested had another court date.

The NYPD's Crime Scene Unit spent the day at Divino Nino Day Care on Morris Avenue searching the entire place. Suited-up investigators were seen going in and out of the building.

They found a "trap," a secret compartment in the floor of the playroom. Inside the 4-by-6-foot area they say investigators found more fentanyl and other drugs, totaling more than five kilos.

During a previous search, officials found a kilo of fentanyl stored on top of playmats used by children, and kilo presses.

Outside the building on the sidewalk, a memorial was growing in response to the death of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici, who lost his life after being exposed to fentanyl. Several other children were sickened at the day care and hospitalized.

The day care's owner, 36-year-old Grei Mendez, and her husband's cousin, 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, who rents a room there, were arrested and charged in state court with murder of depraved indifference.

Earlier this week, they were also slapped with federal narcotics conspiracy charges, which carry a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

During that federal court appearance, Mendez cried and denied any knowledge of a drug operation. Brito denies it as well.

Federal prosecutors are accusing Mendez of playing a role in the drug distribution and in helping her husband escape.

It's alleged that on Friday afternoon, after discovering the children were not waking up from their nap, she made three calls -- two to her husband and another to 911. Within minutes of those calls, prosecutors say her husband was seen entering the Bronx apartment and taking two full shopping bags out of the building through a back alley.

He hasn't been seen since, but police have vowed to capture him.

On Thursday morning, Mendez and Brito had a court date at Bronx Supreme Court. Neither were in the courtroom because they are currently in federal custody, so attorneys for each waived their appearance.

After court, the attorneys would not comment.

Both defendants opted not to testify before a grand jury in Bronx Supreme Court. Their next court date is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Stick with CBS New York for the latest developments as the case continues. 

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