Officials: 20th person dies of suspected methanol poisoning from tainted alcohol in Costa Rica


Posted on: July 25th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Costa Rican Health Ministry (SAN JOSE, Costa Rica) — Another person has died from apparent methanol poisoning stemming from tainted alcohol in Costa Rica, according to government officials.

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health confirmed Wednesday that a 20th person has died, bringing the number of total victims deceased and sickened from drinking the tainted alcohol to 41.

Officials from the health ministry and law enforcement officers raided alcohol distributor Pinares de Heredia on Wednesday to obtain evidence about possibly tainted alcohol bottled with the label “Aguardiente Estrella Roja.”

During the raid, officials seized wines and liquors that lacked the necessary sanitary registrations or had expired registrations, according to the ministry.

The victims are all Costa Rican residents and ranged in age from 32 to 72, the ministry previously announced.

The fatalities occurred in San José, Cartago, Limón, Guanacaste and Heredia.

Last week, the Costa Rican government confiscated more than 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be tainted.

The brands confiscated in those raids include Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Star Welsh, Aguardiente Barón Rojo, Aguardiente Timbuka and Aguardiente Molotov, according to the ministry, which advised residents to avoid drinking them.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said the agency is not aware of any U.S. citizens affected by the consumption of tainted alcohol. The department has not made any changes to the travel advisory for Costa Rica at this time, the spokesperson said.

The amount of alcohol adulterated with methanol that a person can drink before suffering fatal consequences depends on the concentration as well as the person’s biological makeup, health ministry officials said in a statement last week.

Additional information was not immediately available.

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