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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Third Defendant Charged in Connection With the Fentanyl Poisoning of Four Children at a Bronx Daycare

Despite the daily presence of children, including infants, Paredes and his co-conspirators maintained large quantities of narcotics, including a kilogram of fentanyl stored on top of children’s playmats, and large quantities of suspected narcotics in hidden compartments known as “traps” located in the floor of the room in which the children played and slept.

Renny Antonio Parra Paredes, a/k/a “El Gallo,” has been charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death in connection with the poisoning of four children under the age of three, one of whom died, at a daycare facility in the Bronx. Paredes is in custody and was presented Sept. 25 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Frank A. Tarentino III, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Edward A. Caban, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) made the announcement. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “I promised last week that we would continue to work to bring those involved in the child poisonings at Divino Niño daycare to justice.  Since then, this Office and our law enforcement partners have worked around the clock to identify and apprehend additional individuals who are responsible. Today’s arrest is one more step toward obtaining justice for the child-victims of this heinous offense and their families.”    

As alleged in the Complaint, from at least in or about July 2023 through at least in or about September 2023, Paredes and others, including Grei Mendez and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, conspired to distribute fentanyl, including at a children’s daycare center in the Bronx, New York (the “Daycare”). There, despite the daily presence of children, including infants, Paredes and his co-conspirators maintained large quantities of narcotics, including a kilogram of fentanyl stored on top of children’s playmats, and large quantities of suspected narcotics in hidden compartments known as “traps” located in the floor of the room in which the children played and slept. In addition, law enforcement found in the traps materials to package narcotics, such as glassine envelopes used for retail distribution of drugs, which had been stamped in red with “RED DAWN.”  

As a consequence of the drug conspiracy engaged in by Paredes and others, on or about September 15, 2023, four children at the Daycare, who were all under three years of age, appear to have experienced the effects of poisoning from exposure to fentanyl. Three of the children were hospitalized with serious injuries. The fourth child, a one-year-old boy, died. 

Following the arrest of Paredes, law enforcement officers searched the apartment in which Paredes had been staying. During the course of that search, law enforcement officers found shopping bags containing tools and instruments that are used to prepare and distribute narcotics, including strainers, tape, a grinder, plastic bags, and digital scales. Law enforcement officers also found what appears to be two clear Ziplock bags filled with a grayish powder and a rectangular, brick-shaped package, both of which appear to contain narcotics. 

Law enforcement officials further found in the apartment in which Paredes was staying glassine envelopes that bore the same red stamp with the name “RED DAWN” as the above-described glassine envelopes found at the Daycare. Law enforcement officers also found the “RED DAWN” stamp itself in the apartment in which Paredes was staying. 

Paredes, 38, of the Bronx, New York, is charged in Count One with conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.    

The statutory minimum and maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA, the NYPD, the SDNY Digital Forensic Unit, the Complex Analytical and Social Media Enhancement Team at the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force New York Strike Force.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III said: “As alleged, Paredes had an instrumental role in this conspiracy and is charged with narcotics distribution and death in connection with the poisoning of four children. The alleged drugs and materials seized in the trap are indicative of a prolific drug packaging operation. Traffickers often hide contraband in inconspicuous or unsuspecting locations with no regard for the safety of others.  In this case, the Daycare’s floorboards were used as concealment, putting children’s lives at risk who innocently sat on the floor to play. I reiterate that DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue justice for all members of this trafficking ring.”  

NYPD Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban said: “The truly disgraceful allegations in this case continue to shock the senses.  This latest charge proves that our determination to eradicate the threat of illicit fentanyl and save lives cannot – and will not – stop.  The NYPD and our law enforcement partners remain committed to investigating and holding fully accountable anyone who puts the lives of our children in danger.  New Yorkers’ families, and our communities, depend on it.” 

This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maggie Lynaugh and Brandon C. Thompson are in charge of the prosecution.

Read more at the Justice Department

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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