Investigators testing hotel liquor in mysterious deaths of 5 American tourists in Dominican Republic

The FBI has reportedly joined in on the investigation into whether the deaths of at least seven tourists in the Dominican Republic could be linked to poisoned or altered alcohol, according to the New York Post.

The outlet reported Thursday that law enforcement officials are investigating who supplied the alcohol and if the drinks contained any dangerous chemicals.  

The Post reported that the FBI will take blood samples from the victims back to its research center in Quantico, Va.

According to Travel Weekly, the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo said Dominican authorities asked the FBI to assist with toxicology analysis on the deaths of three Americans at a Bahia Principe resort complex. The results may take up to 30 days, the outlet reported.{mosads}

Some of the deaths reportedly involved adults who had drunk alcohol from the minibars in their hotel rooms before becoming sick. Five American tourists have died this year, according to the Post. 

The Dominican government said the fatalities are isolated incidents, according to the New York Post. Both hotels where victims have died — the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana and Bahia Principe — described the deaths as accidents.

The Dominican Tourism Ministry extended “its sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those affected in the tragic events that have been reported over the last few weeks in the country,” Fox News reported.

Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic science professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, told the New York Post that the symptoms described before the victims died, like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, were consistent with poisoning from methanol or pesticides.

“Adulterated alcohol is usually methanol added to alcohol or just plain methanol, which is very, very toxic,” Kobilinsky said. “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.”

Some of the victims also suffered from symptoms like respiratory failure and heart attacks. 

Health inspectors from multiple agencies are still waiting for tests on the pool, air conditioning units, food areas and alcohol from two of the Bahia Principe resorts where the victims stayed. 

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino said it buys only “unopened products from licensed and reputable vendors,” according to the New York Post.


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