Jersey City, NJ
A flurry of Press Reports concerning a spate of tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic put pressure on authorities to examine their circumstances. Reports of the deaths of the tourists became International News with new reports being unveiled week after week. Dominican Republic Authorities tried to temper the speculation by announcing that the deaths where in no way suspicious. Officials announced that autopsies were done and concluded that the deaths could all be explained as “natural”.
Skepticism was fueled when family and friends of the victims recount the circumstances surrounding the deaths. Many related that the deaths occurred after drinking alcoholic beverages on the Island Resort Nation. This circumstantial evidence was enough to question the accuracy of the conclusions by Dominican Republic officials. Amid the flurry of Press Reports the Hard Rock Resort announced that it would eliminate the in-room mini-bars on their property. Other resorts where deaths occurred responded that there was no link to alcoholic beverages and no reason to suspect any relationship to alcoholic beverages.
Among mounting pressure from growing press coverage, it was announced that the United States FBI, and later the Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco agencies would assist in the investigations by offering their expertise in toxicology testing. In a story published by CNN on June 19, 2019 it was reported that the US Embassy was announcing the FBI involvement and that results could be expected in 30 days.
The first mention that the results have been delivered by the FBI to Dominican Republic Authorities was reported by Diario turistico de Rebublca Dominicana at their online portal arecoa.com in a story dated October 4, 2019. , an English edition has reported the same stories.
Although the reports were not publicly released, the local news outlet claims that they were delivered to Dominican Authorities on September 16, 2019. According to Listín Diario, a statement was obtained from the press attaché of the Embassy, Carolina Escalera. The quoted response reads, “The Dominican authorities lead the local investigation and review the findings of the FBI in the context of this investigation.”
This local news outlet appears to be the only one that has obtained confirmation that the toxicology results by the FBI were delivered. They are quoting a statement from the US Embassy.
“Our most important mission at the United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic is to ensure the safety of US citizens. Each death is a tragedy and we extend our condolences to those who have been impacted by the death of a loved one in the Dominican Republic.
On September 16, the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States (FBI) provided the Dominican authorities with the results of the toxicology tests carried out to date. The Dominican authorities lead the local investigation and review the FBI findings in the context of this investigation. Therefore, we refer you to local authorities regarding any specific information.
At the Embassy of the United States, we will continue working with our Dominican counterparts in the areas of safety, health, and tourism to analyze and inform the US public about any potential security risk in the Dominican Republic.”
The local news outlet also published a statement from the Prosecutor General of the Dominican Republic announcing that a Press Conference would be held to discuss the results on September 30, 2019. The press conference was abruptly canceled after the results were reviewed claiming that they are inconclusive.
As of this writing, October 18, 2019, there has been no public announcement issued by the FBI or ATF on the results of the toxicology results. The only statement by the US embassy is the one quoted by the local press.
There has been no follow up on the stories that captivated the International Press for weeks. The official FBI, ATF and US Embassy Web Sites and Press Releases do not mention that the investigation has been concluded and the results delivered. Major U.S. News Organizations have no reports about the conclusion of the investigation.
Meanwhile, SafeProof.org has continued to receive tips emanating from the Dominican Republic from tourists about odd tasting liquor, brand name substitution and some personally documented cases of refilling liquor bottles. SafeProof.org will continue to verify recent tips from the Dominican Republic while we try to obtain and publicize the FBI results.
After months of investigation the question remains, was fake, tainted, counterfeit liquor involved in the rash of tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic. When an investigation that held the nation’s attention for months reaches a conclusion it seems odd that the same amount of coverage would not be warranted by the findings and official results.
The mission of is to raise awareness for Fake or Counterfeit alcohol and to keep liquor safe Search liquor enforcement using our map to keep you and your drinks safe. Report any illicit alcohol activity to us using our secure form or by calling 1 (833) SAFE-TIP To get the latest Alcohol Alerts and violation updates in your area allow notifications from SafeProof and Sign-up for emails. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SafeProof #DrinkSafe #SafeProof