Local June 24, 2020 | 4:37 pm

There are 215 dead in Dominican Republic from drinking moonshine

Cleren clandestine laboratory. Archive.

The Minister of Public Health reported today that there are 215 deaths from ingesting the artisanal alcoholic beverage, known as clerén or the Clergy in English.

According to the statements of Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas, a total of 340 people have been poisoned after consuming this adulterated alcohol, since last April 11, when the alarms went off when five people from the same family residing in the municipal district of Tireo, Constance died.

In addition, the minister said that the case fatality rate is 63.2% and the age range of the deceased is 40-49 years.

The official released the information during the virtual press conference on the situation of the Coronavirus in the country.

Some of the operations carried out

On April 13, the Public Ministry and the Police Intelligence Directorate (DINTEL), assisted by the Ministry of Public Health, began a fight against the clandestine “factories” of the stimulating but deadly drink that came to compete with the epidemic of the coronavirus, and which was openly marketed in grocery stores in the most vulnerable neighborhoods of the capital and other cities in the interior of the country.

During these raids, 31 clandestine rum manufacturing factories or laboratories have been dismantled, and large amounts of products such as methanol (a chemical used, among other things, to denature ethyl alcohol) have been seized; tanks and bottles for storage and subsequent marketing.

Of 64 people arrested for this type of business in violation of the Penal Code and general health laws number 42-01, and 17-79 on Illegal Trade in Contraband and Counterfeiting of Regulated Products, 47 have been ordered to carry out various coercion measures, including prison time, payment of fines and probation.

Of the three institutions involved in operations against the illegal manufacture of alcoholic beverages and the submission of those responsible (MP, Police and Public Health), only the last one has exact statistical data on cases of poisoning and deaths from methane poisoning, classified by age group and sex, and by residence.

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