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'Illicit alcohol' found, seized from Mexican resorts, restaurants and nightclubs

Posted at 11:13 AM, Aug 14, 2017

"Illicit alcohol" was found and seized from 31 different resorts, restaurants and nightclubs in Mexico, ABC News reports.

More than 10,000 gallons of alcohol was found from an unnamed company with "bad manufacturing practices." Some of the alcohol was found at a resort where a 20-year-old Wisconsin woman drowned in January after drinking in the hotel lobby.

Abbey Conner, 20, was pulled from a pool at an Iberostar resort near Playa del Carmen, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. After Conner's death, the paper received numerous reports from others who said they got sick and experienced blackouts at resorts in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

Rick and Diana Neuenschwander of Symmes Township, Ohio said they found tainted alcohol in their margaritas from the Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya resort for a getaway over Independence Day. The resort is close to the resort where Conner drowned.

“It was just a little odd. They were different colors,” Rick said. “We ... just blacked out ... We just don't remember what happened.”

Allegations of tainted or substandard alcohol that resulted in illness or blacking out became serious enough that the State Department updated its Mexico page in July, warning travelers to take extra caution when consuming alcohol. 

“We're standing in the pool, got our little floatie out, and we had some drinks. We were drinking some margaritas,” Rick said. “They were blowing bubbles in the pool. You got people dancing. It was Fourth of July in Mexico ... It was a lot of fun.”

Hours after having the "odd"-looking margaritas, Rick said he and Diana regained consciousness in their hotel room. He said they had no memory of what happened.

“We weren't drunk. We were out — completely different. If we stumbled, we have no idea that we stumbled. We don't know what happened,” Rick said, adding that he woke up with scratches on his face and that his wife had bruised shoulders. “My wife felt like she was maybe held down.”

Read more about the Neuenschwander's story in this I-Team report.

Problems found by Mexican authorities included expired alcohol, water leakage, lack of documentation and a lack of disinfectant, the Journal Sentinel reported.

There's no word from officials on criminal charges, any connection to Conner's death, or any efforts to crack-down on alcohol violations, the Journal Sentinel reported.