10K gallons of illegal alcohol seized after raids at popular Mexico destinations

CANCUN (KUSI) — Mexican health officials raided 31 restaurants, resorts and bars in an attempt to crack down on the illegal sale of tainted alcohol at tourist destinations after the death of a 20-year-old American.

Seventy-five gallons of tainted alcohol were seized and two businesses were shut down after raids on establishments in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Enrique de la Madrid and other popular tourism destinations, the Mexican Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks said Friday.

The raids led Mexican officials to an unidentified alcohol manufacturer and were able to seize 10,000 gallons of illegal alcohol.

The U.S. State Department posted a warning to Americans traveling to Mexico over the condition of alcohol after the discovery that tainted alcohol led to the death of 20-year-old American Abbey Conner.

Conner lost consciousness in a hotel pool at Iberostar Paraiso Maya after consuming a few alcoholic beverages with her brother. She suffered brain damage and her parents decided to withdraw life support.

Iberostar Paraiso Maya was one of two bars temporarily shut down after the raid. The Fat Tuesday in Cancun was also closed due to failure to comply with health requirements. Several others were found to be insufficiently maintained, officials said. 

About 36 percent of alcohol consumed in Mexico is potentially dangerous because it is illegally sold or produced under unregulated circumstances, according to a report by Euromonitor International in partnership with the Mexican Tax Administration Service. Two years prior, 43 percent of all alcohol consumed in the country was believed to be illegal.

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