When in Mexico Remember: Don’t Drink The Water or Anything Else for That Matter

Tainted or drugged alcohol kills tourists in Mexico. As usual, nothing will come of it.

“They serve alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks,” he wrote in his native Spanish.

That single paragraph, buried near the end of a four-page report summarizing how 20-year-old Conner drowned within a couple hours of arriving at the Iberostar Hotel & Resorts’ Paraiso del Mar, offers a possible lead in the investigation into her death.

And it could shed light on the circumstances surrounding numerous reports from others who have told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they experienced sickness, blackouts and injuries after drinking at Iberostar and other resorts around Cancun and Playa del Carmen in recent months.

They told the Journal Sentinel they believe they were drugged or the alcohol may have been tainted. They questioned how they could fall into a stupor so quickly. And whether they had been targeted.

Was it robbery? In one case, two teenage brothers from Minnesota on vacation with their parents woke up covered in mud, with no shirts or shoes and their wallets and cellphones missing. They had gotten separated during the night. One had a severe rash all over his legs. Neither could remember what happened.

Sexual assault? One Wisconsin woman interviewed by the Journal Sentinel said she was assaulted while both she and her husband were unconscious — something supported by an exam done by her OB-GYN when she returned to NeenahHer husband woke up with a broken hand — a “boxer’s break” that his doctor said likely resulted from hitting someone — but also no memory of what had happened.

Extortion? In at least three cases, travelers reported that local hospitals, part of the Hospiten chain, appeared to be gouging them, demanding large sums of cash. One man was told to take a cab to an ATM. 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. 

Others can find no motive for their suspected drugging.

Could it be what the attorney for the Conner family alluded to in his report: All-inclusive resorts using cheap, bootleg booze to cut costs?

A 2015 report from Mexico’s Tax Administration Service found that 43% of all the alcohol consumed in the nation is illegal, produced under unregulated circumstances resulting in potentially dangerous concoctions.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Almost half of Mexico’s alcohol is moonshine.
    Nothing in Mexico is safe.

  • tom_billesley


  • Millie_Woods

    I don’t go anywhere unless English is the first language. Except Newfoundland, I’ve been there a couple of times.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      You know what they say about Newfoundland and Nova Scotia?
      They are the ‘Medellín’ and ‘Cali’ of North America. 😉

      • I’ve always thought of it as being the northern end of the Appalachians. You do get some really hillbilly/Deliverance stuff out in the boonies. I knew someone who went to school with one of these girls. She said, I paraphrase, everyone treated them like shit because they were white trash. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goler_clan

        • Drunk_by_Noon

          “During interrogation by police, several of the adults openly admitted to engaging in many forms of sexual activity, up to and including full intercourse, multiple times with the children. They often went into graphic detail, claiming that the children themselves had initiated the activity.”

          Okay, you win THIS round ‘Mamba, but I’ll be back!

          How effed-up does a family have to be to get your own Wikipedia page for “generational poverty” and incest?
          I mean REALLY!
          WTF dude!?
          When growing up, our idea of ‘white trash’ were the kids who didn’t have cable TV, but that was in the late 1970’s.
          Obviously we were sheltered.

          • Google Wolfville. This happened few miles from there. Nova Scotia isn’t that bad. I’m not on the tourist board, and, frankly, I’d move out given half a chance, but, honestly, the Annapolis Valley is gorgeous in the summer. Acadia University, in Wolfville, is pretty high class. I know profs from there. I know people who grew up there.

            I’d recommend Nova Scotia in the summer for a two week vacation. Stretch it to a month. But probably don’t move here.

          • Clink9

            Just call in the napalm strike.

      • Millie_Woods

        LOL. I had to google that.

  • krystal10

    SUGGESTION: Avoid Mexico. Go to CHILE.
    I’ve been going to Mexico for 40 years, from 3 weeks to 6 months, up to a few years ago when it was safe. Was twice on the Cancun side ten years ago. Never again. By far, the Pacific side is best. Avoid Acapulco.
    The Cancun area is loaded in cartels who are slowly working their way down to the Pacific side.

    • Going to Central America in a few months. Haven’t been there for more than 20 years, but I heard that cartel bosses have relocated there to escape pressure in Mexico. Not sure what to expect. Going on a bicycle “recon” trip and wouldn’t mind moving back there if I didn’t hear it was so screwed up. I think the only way to get a sense of the situation.is with local people, not the tourism industry. Of course if you live in a “gated community” I suppose it’s not possible to get a sense of how you could live like locals, the middle class, etc. either.

      • krystal10

        Everywhere crime rates are increasing.
        I also favor the locals, much cheaper and more fun.
        Do a comprehensive Google search per country before leaving re cost of living, crime rate, public health system, weather, beaches, lodging….
        After, do a Google with the words ‘Images for’ – the cities/towns on your itinerary.
        Have a great trip and come back safely.

    • Norman_In_New_York

      Brings to mind a funny story about the Mexican government back in 1948 looking to promote tourism by hosting a tour of Hollywood stars on the pretext of thanking the movie capital for many filmings there on location. They made the mistake of inviting Groucho Marx on the tour. After the group saw the sights of Mexico City, the guide announced, “We shall reassemble here tomorrow for dinner with President Miguel Aleman at 8 PM.” Groucho, in the middle of the pack, answered, “And what makes you think that Miguel Aleman will still be president by tomorrow at 8 PM?” That night, the president’s secretary was assassinated.

  • Slickfoot

    Pro tip: don’t go to Mexico, it’s a corrupt shithole, I can see it from here, and the corruption that spreads north from there.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Poison booze is huge all over the world. It would be in the US too if meth wasn’t so profitable