The US State Department is warning travelers to Mexico about "tainted or substandard alcohol" after reports of people blacking out and waking with injuries—or sometimes not waking at all. Since its investigation into Abbey Conner's death in January, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has uncovered more than three dozen cases in which visitors to Mexican resorts blacked out after drinking numerous kinds of alcohol, including tequila, rum, and beer. Many victims lost consciousness after only a drink or two and woke hours later with no recollection of what had happened, including how they got to a hospital or their hotel room. One woman alleges she was sexually assaulted while blacked out, while family members say others died.
Conner's family believes tainted alcohol may have been to blame in her death, per ABC News; she was found unconscious in a pool at the five-star Iberostar Paraiso del Mar resort near Playa del Carmen after doing a shot at a swim-up bar. Iberostar says it only purchases sealed bottles of alcohol that meet regulatory standards. However, a 2015 report from Mexico's Tax Administration Service found 43% of all alcohol consumed in Mexico is illegally made, meaning it could contain dangerous concentrations of chemicals; more than 1.4 million gallons of tainted alcohol has been seized from Mexican businesses, including resorts, since 2010. The US State Department warns travelers to Mexico to only drink in moderation and to get help "if you begin to feel ill." (Read more Mexico stories.)