Dominican Republic officials are reportedly investigating whether recent tourist deaths were caused by counterfeit alcohol

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider
  • Dominican Republic police are looking into who supplied beverages to the seven US tourists who have died while staying at resorts in the country in the last year, law enforcement sources told The New York Post.
  • Counterfeit liquor can turn deadly when distilled spirits are mixed with rubbing alcohol or methanol to dilute the products.
  • At least some of the tourists who died reportedly drank beverages from their hotel room minibar before falling ill.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Dominican Republic police are investigating whether or not several US tourists who died while staying at all-inclusive resorts were poisoned by bootleg alcohol, law enforcement sources told The New York Post.

Officials told the Post they are looking into who supplied beverages at Dominican resorts and if the drinks had any chemicals in them.

Toxic counterfeit liquor is an international problem that can turn deadly when distilled spirits are mixed with rubbing alcohol or methanol to dilute the products.

At least seven US tourists have died while staying at all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic in the last year.

Most of the deaths bear similarities – at least some reportedly drank beverages from their hotel room minibar and almost all of the tourists fell ill before dying.

All but one were all staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino or hotels in the Bahia Principe chain.

Several other tourists have claimed they fell ill or were poisoned while staying at resorts.


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11 suspicious cases of tourists getting sick, assaulted, and dying in the Dominican Republic in the last year

Dominican Ministry of Public Health told The Post that health inspectors have conducted tests on pools, air conditioning units, food areas and alcohol at two Bahia Principe resorts.

The US Embassy in the Dominican Republic released a statement on Wednesday saying it is working with the country’s government “to ensure that US citizens are safe and feel safe while in the Dominican Republic.”

“Dominican authorities have asked for FBI assistance for further toxicology analysis on the recent Bahia Principe, La Romana cases and our FBI colleagues tell us that those results may take up to 30 days,” the embassy said. “We ask everyone to be patient while these investigations run their course.”

INSIDER has contacted the embassy and the Dominican Republic’s national police force for comment.

Dominican Republic’s tourism minister, Francisco Javier Garcia, told CNN that all of the deaths are isolated incidents.

“Investigation into them is a top priority for us and for the National Police. We are asking them to deploy all resources to help provide answers as quickly as possible,” he said.

The tourism industry accounted for more than 17% of the Dominican Republic’s economy in 2017, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

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