BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Resorts in Mexico are being accused of either serving dangerous and illegal alcohol to their guests, or worse — actually drugging them.
This is according to an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that revealed similar sad stories from numerous victims and their families whose dream vacations quickly turned nightmarish.
The family of Abbey Conner, a 20-year-old who drowned in the pool at the Iberostar Hotel & Resorts’ Paraiso del Mar, believes there was more to her death than excessive drinking. Her older brother nearly drowned in another pool that same day and was also taken to the hospital with no recollection of what happened.
“They serve alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks,” said an attorney hired by the family of Conner.
A report from Mexico’s Tax Administration Service found that in 2015, 43 percent of the alcohol consumed in Mexico was illegal. The illegal booze wasn’t subjected to the same rules and regulations, making the product more dangerous. Instead of using ethanol, the unregulated alcohol contains dangerous concentrations of methanol.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s investigation found many who believed they were drugged as well. Their stories have a similar theme: minimal drinking that results in blackouts. The luckiest ones just woke up a few hours later relatively unharmed.
Some even suspect possible collusion between the resort and a local area hospital, according to the report.
From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The vacationers suspected Iberostar might be in cahoots with the medical company. The resort contracts with Hospiten and refers sick and injured guests to Hospiten’s facilities. Abbey Conner’s family paid about $17,000 to a small medical clinic south of Playa del Carmen and within several hours paid tens of thousands more to a hospital in Cancun, north of the resort, where Abbey and her brother were transferred.
Maureen Webster founded the website Mexicovacationawareness.com after her son Nolan drowned at a resort in Mexico.
“Every time, every single time, something bad happens, they (Mexican resorts and authorities) blame the victim,” said Webster. “They say ‘They were drunk, they were drunk, they were drunk, they were drunk.’ Every single time. Shame on the (U.S.) government for not making this an issue. It’s a big problem.”
In 2013, Karen Smith’s son Brian drowned in the same pool as Nolan Webster.
“There’s no accountability,” said Smith. “Even if it’s over-serving, they promote this risky behavior, but have no means to handle it when it occurs. It’s just so mind boggling that something like this could occur, and it’s just like ‘Oh well.’”