New York City law enforcement and city officials pose before a desk of so-called ghost guns and related items confiscated from recent searches. Photo courtesy of NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban/X
Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Ghost guns and tools used to manufacture such weaponry, including a 3D printer, have been found in a Manhattan daycare, authorities and officials said, less than two weeks after four children under the age of 3 suffered fentanyl poisoning at a daycare in the Bronx.
"It does not give us any joy in coming here to talk about another case where a home daycare provider had children in a dangerous environment," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said during a Wednesday press conference.
"Who would have thought that we must add to our list of inspections, do we have 3D printers that can print guns? Do we see the presence of various items like fentanyl?"
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner told reporters that New York City authorities have been investigating a group of people buying ghost guns and ghost gun parts from online retailers, including through "fraudulent means," such as identity theft involving multiple victims across the country.
On Tuesday, three search warrants were executed in the case, including at the East Harlem residence of 18-year-old Jamal Coley, which is also a licensed daycare operated by the teen's mother.
Inside, investigators recovered a 3D printer, 3D printing tools and plastic filament, two completed 3D-printed firearms, a 3D-printed assault pistol in the final stages of assembly and a 3D-printed lower receiver.
An "obviously maltreated and neglected dog" was also found at the residence and removed by the NYPD animal cruelty department, she said.
Privately made firearms, which are more commonly known as ghost guns, are unserialized and untraceable, and are becoming an increasing problem for law enforcement.
According to NYPD statistics, officers confiscated 263 PMFs in 2021. Last year, they seized 436. And so far this year, the number stands at 290.
"Compared to last year, we've recovered three times as many 3D-printed firearms this year, and the year's not over yet," she said.
During the three searches committed Tuesday, police said they arrested three people, including Coley, and confiscated numerous weapons, including 3D-printed firearms.
The announcement comes after a 1-year-old boy was killed from a fentanyl overdose Sept. 15 when he and two other children under the age of 3 were rushed to the hospital after they were found unresponsive at the Divino Niño daycare center that was operated out of a Bronx residence.
A fourth child who had been picked up from the daycare a few hours earlier was also taken to the hospital after becoming lethargic and unresponsive. They all suffered from fentanyl poisoning.
Police said a search of the facility found fentanyl on play mats in the closet by the daycare's bathroom as well under trap floor doors where children played and slept.
Three people have so far been arrested in connection to the child's death, including the daycare's owner, Grei Mendez; a resident of the apartment, Carlisto Acevedo Brito; and Renny Antonio Parra Paredes, a man prosecutors described as having played a fundamental role in the narcotics operation.