Police are investigating whether the seven tourists who mysteriously died in the Dominican Republic were poisoned by bootleg liquor and officials want to know who supplied the alcohol the victims drank immediately prior to their deaths over the past year.
Law enforcement says they are looking for any dangerous chemicals that could have contaminated their alcoholic beverages and have the FBI’s assistance with taking blood samples from the deceased back to their research center in Quantico, VA.
Forensic science professor Lawrence Kobilinsky of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said the symptoms among some of the victims, to include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, were consistent with poisoning from methanol or pesticides.
Methanol is a type of alcohol not safe for humans and is regularly used as antifreeze.
Koblinsky said, “Adulterated alcohol is usually methanol added to alcohol or just plain methanol, which is very, very toxic. It looks to me, from what I’ve heard and read, is that something was added to the drinks or bottles in those little refrigerators.” He continued, “There should be no methanol at all in the liquor. If it’s there, it means it’s been contaminated or put there deliberately.”
According to the New York Post, Dominican National Police dismantled five labs used for manufacturing alcohol not safe for human consumption in 2017.
Health inspectors from multiple agencies have also conducted extensive tests on pools, air conditioning units, food areas, and alcohol at two Bahia Principe resort where three visitors died and are awaiting the results. In a statement, the Hard Rock said clinical tests from Hospiten Bavaro, a hospital in Punta Cana, showed both deaths at their resort were caused by heart attacks. The hotel also said they only purchase “unopened products from licensed and reputable vendors.”