An all-inclusive five-star resort in Mexico is in hot water as it was recently accused of serving tainted alcohol to its foreign patrons. According to an attorney representing the family of Abbey Conner, a 20-year-old patron who drowned at a pool at The Iberostar Hotel & Resorts’ Paraiso del Mar after partaking of the resort’s alcohol, he noticed that the resort was serving its customers with alcoholic drinks in great amounts. The attorney noted that the alcohol was of bad quality, and was mixed into different kinds of drinks.
Following Conner’s unfortunate passing, more cases of American vacationers experiencing sickness, blackouts, and injuries after drinking at Iberostar and other resorts around Cancun and Playa del Carmen have surfaced. According to an online report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one case involved two teenage brothers from Minnesota who woke up covered in mud with their shirts, shoes, mobile phones, and wallets missing.
Another case involved one Wisconsin woman who reported being assaulted while she and her husband were both unconscious. The alleged assault was supported by an examination carried out by her OB-GYN upon returning to Neenah. Her husband, on the other hand, woke up with a broken arm. According to his doctor, the “boxer’s break” was likely due to hitting someone.
In addition, at least three vacationers reported that local hospitals have required large sums of money for the treatment of the injuries they incurred after drinking supposedly tainted alcohol from the hotel. The local hospitals were part of the Hospiten chain. The resort was allegedly in contract with the hospital chain, and refers sick or injured patrons to any of its facilities.
Questionable alcohol concoctions seen as probable cause of blackouts
A 2015 report from Mexico’s Tax Administration Service showed more than 40 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the country is illegal, and is produced under unregulated processes that may in turn result in potentially harmful mixes. It was noted that the country has seized more than 1.4 million gallons of these cheaper, adulterated alcohol since 2010. The questionable concoctions were nabbed not only from smaller establishments, but also from much larger facilities such as hotels and all-inclusive resorts.
According to the Journal Sentinel report, blackouts had been experienced by patrons of all ages, gender, and marital status after ingesting these spirits. The incidents took place at Iberostar’s property in Cancun and at the company’s resort cluster in Playa del Carmen. The company maintains that it only provides alcohol that passed safety standards.
“[The company] only purchases sealed bottles that satisfy all standards required by the designated regulatory authorities. From the moment in which the guests were found, Iberostar personnel acted with urgency, following established protocols. We reiterate that we are deeply saddened by this incident and that we take this matter very seriously – our heart is with the family and has been from the moment the incident occurred several months ago,” a company statement said in reaction to Conner’s death.
In line with the recent incidents, the United States Department of State has issued warnings to vacationers travelling to Mexico about possible tainted or counterfeit alcohol that may trigger sickness and blacking out. (Related: Heed the toxic effects of alcohol)
“Following these reports and in consultation with our posts in Mexico, we updated our country-specific information for Mexico to provide updated safety information regarding potentially tainted alcohol…U.S. citizens have lodged a large number of complaints about unethical business practices, prices, and collection measures against some of the private hospitals…Travelers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care in these locations. The embassy stands ready to provide appropriate consular services to any U.S. citizens in need,” the department quoted as saying in the USA Today website.
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