Officials in Mexico seized around 10,000 gallons of illegal alcohol from resorts and other popular nightlife spots in the country this week, including some from the luxury resort where a young American woman mysteriously died in January. The 10,000 gallons came from an unidentified company that used “bad manufacturing practices,” government officials said.
Authorities temporarily shut down two places in the wake of the discoveries, including the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, where 20-year-old Abbey Conner died in January, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday.
Abbey and her brother Austin had been drinking at the resort’s bar with their parents before they were found floating face down in the pool just a short while later. Austin survived with minor injuries. Abbey, however, did not. Her death was ruled an “accidental drowning.”
The Conner family and lawyers were suspicious of Abbey’s death from the beginning. Austin confirmed that they had not been drinking to excess and that something else must have happened.
“I’ve been in college for five years and had my fair share of drinks before,” Austin told the Journal-Sentinel previously. “No way in hell I’m putting my face down in a pool and going to sleep.”
An investigation into Abbey’s death proved less than satisfactory: only three hotel employees were interviewed. Some of the Conner’s suspicions, however, were confirmed when a lawyer hired by the family stated in a report that “low quality” alcohol was being served at the bar Abbey was drinking at before her death. Other families soon came forward with tragic stories of unexplained deaths at luxury resorts in Mexico.
“This is awesome. This is huge,” Abbey’s mother, Ginny McGowan, told the Journal-Sentinel of the alcohol seizure. “It’s needed. There is obviously stuff going on that needs to be cleaned up and looked into further. They need to investigate and interview employees. This makes sense. This needs to happen.”
The United States issued a travel warning in July urging anyone going to Mexico to be aware of tainted liquor. Tourists were urged to “stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.” Officials in Mexico were also made aware of the possibility of illicit alcohol being served at popular resorts. A 2017 report issued by Euromonitor International found that up to 36 percent of alcohol served in the entirety of Mexico was illegal.
“We are continuing to work together with the secretary of tourism to ensure the health of the tourists in the region and the rest of the country,” Alvaro Perez Vega, the commission of sanitation, told the Journal-Sentinel.