Illicit alcohol found in Mexican clampdown

The authorities in Mexico have seized thousands of gallons of low-quality illicit alcohol in an operation targeting tourist resorts.

The raids swept through more than 30 locations - including hotels, restaurants and night clubs - in the popular Cancun and Playa del Carmen resorts and also uncovered an illicit alcohol manufacturer supplying the bootleg booze.

Last month, the US State Department issued a warning to tourists visiting its southern neighbour in the wake of a death of Milwaukee tourist Abbey Connor, potetially linked to tainted drinks in a tourist resort, and other reports of people falling ill or losing consciousness.

Ginny McGowan, Abbey Conner’s mother, welcomed the crackdown and told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that "there is obviously stuff going on that needs to be cleaned up and looked into further. They need to investigate and interview employees."

More than 10,000 gallons of alcohol has been seized from the unnamed manufacturer, which according to the Mexican government was producing it in "unsanitary conditions." According to the National Federal Health System, the country seized 5.3 million litres of illegal alcohol between 2010 and 2017, along with 311 million illicit cigarettes and 533 tonnes of falsified or unlicensed medicines.

Two bars have also been closed down in the wake of the crackdown, including one located in the resort where Connor drowned in a pool after drinking with her brother, who also blacked out and was harmed by excessive exposure to alcohol.

The blood alcohol levels of both siblings were found to be three times over the limit for impairment, which could have resulted from high consumption but also as a result of drinking alcohol with a higher-than-expected alcohol content. Tests were inconclusive.

According to a 2015 report from Mexico's Tax Administration Service, 43 per cent of alcohol consumed in the country is illegal with unregulated production.

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