Authorities in Mexico have seized 10,000 gallons of illicit alcohol from a manufacturer supplying booze to popular resorts and shut down operations at two locations in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, according to reports.
Regulators recently visited nearly three dozen restaurants, resorts and nightclubs in the two tourist hot spots.
The crackdown followed an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after Abbey Conner, a 20-year-old Wisconsin woman vacationing in Mexico, died in January after being pulled from the pool at Iberostar’s Paraiso del Mar in Playa del Carmen.
Authorities announced the alcohol seizure at a news conference in Mexico on Friday, citing “bad manufacturing practice,” but did not identify the booze maker, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Operations at the lobby bar at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, a resort in the complex were Conner died, were suspended and regulators also temporarily shut down Fat Tuesday in Cancun.
A total of 90 gallons of illicit alcohol was removed from both locations, including some unlabeled booze from Iberostar’s lobby bar.
“This is awesome, this is huge,” Abbey Conner’s mother, Ginny McGowan, told the newspaper. “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 State Department began alerting travelers to reports of altered or inferior quality alcohol in July following the newspaper’s investigation into Conner’s death.
More than three dozen people told the paper they had blacked out after drinking small or moderate amounts of alcohol at all-inclusive resorts around Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
“There have been allegations that consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol has resulted in illness or blacking out,” the State Department’s website on Mexico reads. “If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.”
Some vacationers told the newspaper that they were assaulted and robbed and all of the victims said they had little recollection of what happened.
An attorney for Conner’s family said in a report given to her relatives in July that “low quality” alcohol was being served at the bar where she and her brother, Austin, were drinking prior to her being found floating in a pool.
Austin Conner, 22, also reported blacking out and had a severe concussion.
His sister was brain dead and was taken to Florida a few days later, where she was taken off life support.
Authorities in Mexico did not indicate whether criminal charges will be sought following Friday’s crackdown.
They also did not say whether they’re investigating the circumstances surrounding Conner’s death, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Officials in Mexico, meanwhile, say ensuring the safety of visitors to key tourist destinations in the state of Quintana Roo — such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen — remains a top priority.
Additional details on a broader counterfeit alcohol crackdown is expected to be released in September, the head of the Mexican legislative health commissioner said last month.