Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Day Care Center Hid Cocaine in Lunch Box, Dealt Drugs: Cops

A kilo of cocaine, 1,000 oxycodone pills, and drug-packing materials were taken from the Bronx day care

By Jonathan Dienst
|  Friday, Sep 13, 2013  |  Updated 7:08 PM EDT
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Day Care Center Hid Cocaine in Lunch Box: Cops

Three hundred grams of cocaine were allegedly packed into this "Hot Wheels" lunch bag.

A married couple who operate a Bronx day care center are accused of selling drugs under the same the roof where kids played, investigators said. Some of the cocaine was even stored in a child's insulated "Hot Wheels" lunch bag, authorities said.

Authorities raided the Fun World Child Care Center on Rosedale Avenue Wednesday night and found a kilo of cocaine, 1,000 oxycodone pills, and drug-packing materials in the building. A handgun, cash and a drug scale were found at a stash house across the street, authorities said.

The center’s owners – Gregorio Hanley and his wife Johanna Vasquez – were arrested by NYPD, state police, Homeland Security and Drug Enforcement Agents. In all, more than $300,000 in cash and drugs were seized.

DEA agents said the dealers intentionally put kids at risk by using the center as a front.

"The scope of the trafficking operation makes it all the more horrifying that it used as cover a fully operational day care center," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.

Hanley and Vasquez lived in an apartment that adjoined the daycare center and kept more apartments in the basement. In one of those basement apartments -- connected to a stairway leading to the daycare center's outdoor play area -- authorities found the oxycodone and the lunch bag of cocaine.

The couple are also accused of operating a stash house across the street from the daycare where investigators said more than $160,000 was found hidden in a TV stand along with a 9 mm handgun. Police discovered the stash after allegedly witnessing Hanley selling drugs outside the home Sept. 11. 

Hanley and Vasquez' family members declined comment Friday.

A third suspect, William Ferrer was arrested and is believed to be a drug buyer for the alleged operation.

The three suspects are expected to be arraigned on drug trafficking charges in Manhattan criminal court later today.

Jonathan Vigliotti contributed to this report

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