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Pear-D death isolated case, say UK cops
Tests done by the Hampshire Constabulary have confirmed that the cocaine-laced bottle of Pear-D linked to a death in England was not exported to the UK by local manufacturer SM Jaleel & Co Ltd. The Hampshire police, in a release on their Web site, said tests on the toxic bottle had “now established that the bottle of Cole Cold Pear-D fruit drink was manufactured in the Caribbean and the company did not export this drink to the UK.”
According to the release, the police received laboratory test results which showed the bottle contained a lethal amount of cocaine. On Thursday, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued a recall of Cole Cold Pear-D. After the UK alert, SM Jaleel, of Otaheite, voluntarily recalled the drink from the batch containing the best-before code, “BB JAN 08 14,” as a precautionary measure.
Royal Navy veteran Joromie Lewis died on December 5 after drinking from the bottle. Lewis, 33, of Gosport, originally from St Vincent and the Grenadines, drank the cocaine-laced Pear-D and died within hours at Southampton General Hospital. Yesterday, calls to Police Crime Commissioner for Hampshire Simon Hayes and his press officer Susan Rolling for a comment on the situation went unanswered.
The constabulary release also said a multi-agency taskforce, headed by Detective Supt Richard Pearson, has been set up to investigate how the cocaine-laced drink made it into the UK. The police investigation has been named Operation Crab. Lewis’s death has been widely reported across the United Kingdom. Major newspapers, including the Daily Mail and the UK Guardian, highlighted Lewis’s death and the FSA’s alert.
Spiked bottle an isolated incident
Pearson was reported in the UK media as saying, “Enquiries to date have not identified any further incidents or similar bottles. The investigation suggests that this was likely to be a rogue bottle from a consignment of drugs stored in plastic juice bottles.” Yesterday, an FSA spokesman at the FSA headquarters in London, speaking with the T&T Guardian by telephone, also said, “At this stage it would appear to be an isolated incident.”
The spokesman, who declined to have his name published, said the alert was issued on Thursday after the Hampshire police notified the FSA f of Lewis’s death. To date, he said, no more bottles of the Pear-Drink had been seized. The spokesman said the FSA does not believe the contaminated drink was widely available, since there have been no other cases. “We do not have evidence that there has been wide distribution in the UK or (Southampton). We do not have any evidence of any further distribution at the moment.
“So really, it was a case of putting an alert out so our local authority enforcement officers just can check retailers,” he said. The spokesman said all information on the recall was released in its alert on Thursday and was the most up-to-date information.
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