HOUSTON - Troubling reports have surfaced about American tourists who say they were given tainted alcohol at Mexican resorts. Some people have reported becoming disoriented and very ill. Others have claimed they were assaulted.
The U.S. consulate in Mexico says it will not be releasing any new travel warnings for American tourists stemming from recent reports.
The consulate told KHOU 11 News Friday evening it does not have “sufficient information to make a determination at this time if a pattern exists.”
A consul official at Mexico’s regional Merida office said the regional office received some of the frightening reports from tourists who claimed strange, and sometimes dangerous, events happened after they drank alcohol at certain resort properties.
The incidents allegedly occurred over the course of the past year at some all-inclusive resorts at destinations including Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and others on the Yucatan.
A Houston couple who just returned from Mexico are concerned they may have been victims too. The husband said they'd been drinking earlier in the day, then went to have dinner and felt fine. Hours after they'd had a drink and eaten food, the man said his wife began to act strange.
"She turned into a zombie,” he said. “I’ve never seen her like that. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
The man said his wife was fine the following day, but she was shaken by the experience. She said she wonders if she may have been drugged as more of the same strange reports are surfacing.
However, many other travelers KHOU 11 spoke with who were returning from vacation didn't come home with a frightening tale.
A Friendswood couple returning to Houston Friday told a different story. Thomas and Erin Perry said they spent the last five days at an all-inclusive Cancun resort. It was their first trip to the resort town.
They said they were drinking cocktails throughout their vacation and never noticed anything strange.
"It was all, from what we could tell, it was what it should be," said Thomas. "We had heard about the things that were happening... We were cautious of what we drank, which you should be anyhow because you're out of the country."
Reports of travelers drinking tainted alcohol at the all-inclusive Mexican resorts include destinations like Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and the area to the south of the city.
In the past year, travelers to the resorts in those areas have reported they had to be hospitalized and there's been at least one report of a sexual assault.
A 2015 report from Mexico’s Tax Administration Service found that 43 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the nation is illegal, produced under unregulated circumstances resulting in potentially dangerous concoctions.
The national health authority in Mexico has seized more than 1.4 million gallons of adulterated alcohol since 2010 — not just from small local establishments, but from hotels and other entertainment areas, according to a 2017 report by the country's Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks.
The bootleg liquor could be infused with grain alcohol or dangerous concentrations of methanol, cheaper alternatives to producing ethanol, government reports warn.
And the mixtures are capable of making people extremely sick.
The blackouts have happened to men and women, young and old, singles and couples, according to interviews with nearly a dozen travelers and family members whose loved ones died or were injured at the resorts, as well as hospital records, ambulance receipts, hotel correspondence and other documents.
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