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Popular Mexican Resorts Serving Tainted Alcohol

Abbey Conner and and her brother were on a family vacation at a popular Mexican resort when they began drinking at a poolside bar. After her second drink, Abbey blacked out. Minutes later, her brother Austin was drowning motionless beside her. Both received medical attention, but only Austin survived. He couldn’t recall what happened - he was found unconscious with a lump on his head, no memory of what occurred and an extreme concussion. Despite having only two drinks, he and Abbey’s blood-alcohol level was over 0.25, well above the level of legal intoxication. 

Abbey and Austin were not alone. Just weeks after their story emerged on the national landscape, numerous people have come forward with similar stories of becoming disoriented, unconscious and having no recollection of how they incurred injuries. A similar story occurred with a Wisconsin woman who was vacationing with her boyfriend at the same Iberostar resort in Mexico. The woman and her boyfriend drank alcohol throughout the afternoon, and the bartender served them mixed drinks and some tequila shots. A few short hours later, both woke up without any memory of vomiting and being escorted off the premises by hotel security.

Stories such as this are becoming more prevalent, as each individual who comes forward describes getting sick all of a sudden and blacking out. Many more report being sexually assaulted, robbed and getting seriously hurt. Trips to emergency rooms in Mexican hospitals are becoming commonplace. Investigators and Mexican officials are paying more attention to these issues as they pose a critical threat to the tourism industry that is crucial to the Mexican economy. Whereas stories such as these historically have taken place at seedy areas of Mexico, the most shocking part is that almost all of the recent issues have occurred at upscale, all-inclusive resorts in popular tourist destinations such as Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

Investigators have focused their attention on tainted alcohol and drinks that could possibly be laced with drugs. PCP, scopolamine and quaaludes are some of the drugs that cause similar symptoms described by many victims, including hallucinations, feelings of horror and outbursts of rage. Furthermore, the Mexican government has for years been aware of tainted alcohol. Going back to 2010, Mexican authorities have seized more than 1.4 million gallons of poisoned alcohol from hotels, resorts and other entertainment venues. Given the rash of recent incidents, the government needs to crack down further to ensure the safety of its visitors and citizens.

    Max Ransal

    Max is a travel and freelance writer. He studied English at Rice University.