Are Mexican Resorts Serving Up Tainted Booze?
A five-star resort has been accused of drugging people who have traveled to Mexico looking for a good time.
Mexico is a hugely popular destination for American tourists as more than 9 million Americans visited the country last year, but not everyone had the vacation they hoped for.
The State Department has now issued a travel warning for Mexico, following allegations that tainted alcohol's been served at various resorts.
At the gorgeous Iberostar Playa Paraiso, an all-inclusive luxury resort not far from Cancun, the booze flows like water, day and night.
Some tourists drink so much they stagger their way back to their rooms, but is something going on beyond just drinking too much?
Jamie and Rick Valeri, tourists from Wisconsin, say they lost consciousness after drinking beer and mojitos at the resort in 2015.
They say they had three drinks on the beach and then they blacked out.
“I believe that the staff at Iberostar drugged us,” Jamie told Inside Edition.
She recalls very little but what she does remember is nightmarish. She says she remembers being sexually assaulted and coming to on her bathroom floor. Her husband’s memory is a total blank; all he knows for certain is he had a broken hand from hitting someone.
Jamie says the incident almost destroyed their marriage.
“I never worried that I would be sitting at a five star resort at the beach with my husband, and that I would not only be drugged but sexually assaulted,” she said.
It was at the same Iberostar resort that another American tourist, Abbey Conner, 20, drowned after drinking at the pool bar with her brother, Austin, last January.
They were both found floating face down in a waist-deep pool.
Abbey's father, Bill, says her death and Austin's near death were caused by contaminated booze served by the hotel.
“When they pulled Abbey out of the pool she was dead,” he told Inside Edition.
They're not alone; dozens of tourists in Cancun and in Playa Del Carmen say that they blacked out after consuming just a small amount of alcohol they believe was tainted or drugged at Iberostar and other resorts.
Iberostar denies serving contaminated alcohol to guests, saying it only purchases "sealed containers" obtained from "reputable and licensed distributors."
Inside Edition’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero tried to speak to a manager at the resort.
“There have been some issues here at the resort, including a young woman who died after drinking in the hotel pool. Can you please explain what happened?” she asked.
“Please turn off the cameras because you're not authorized to film here,” the manager told her.
“We're just trying to get some answers for a heartbroken family,” she added.
“Yes, but I’m not the authorized person to do so,” the manager said.
“Their daughter has died," Guerrero fired back. "They feel like you're serving tainted alcohol here. And they have claimed they've reached out to you and yet you have been unresponsive."
“What happened to Abbey is absolutely horrific. It shouldn’t have happened,” Jamie Valeri said. “It's ruined our lives. We will never be the same people we were when we went there.”
In a statement, Iberostar said Mexican authorities inspected their resorts and found "no tainted alcohol” at any of their properties in Mexico.
Iberostar says they are deeply saddened by the death of Abbey Conner. After a comprehensive investigation, they say they found no evidence she consumed tainted alcohol and no other person at the hotel reported any complaints about alcohol around the time of her death.
As far as Jamie and Rick Valeri, Iberostar says they also investigated thoroughly and could not find anything to corroborate their allegations.
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