Couple arrested for selling deadly bootleg alcohol in İzmir

Couple arrested for selling deadly bootleg alcohol in İzmir

Couple arrested for selling deadly bootleg alcohol in İzmir

AA photo

A husband and wife in the Aegean Turkish province of İzmir suspected of selling bootleg alcohol that killed three people were arrested Nov. 26, while one survivor said he would continue to drink counterfeit products, since legal alcohol was too expensive. 

H.B. and H.B., who own the store which sold the deadly counterfeit rakı, were detained after 10 people were hospitalized, Anadolu Agency reported. 

Three people ranging in age from 50 to 63 succumbed to poisoning, while the other seven remain in critical condition. 

Mehmet Yılmaz Durgun, who shared a home with Ömer Akgün Yüngeliş, one of the victims, told Doğan News Agency he also consumed a glass of rakı with his friend. 

“I had had a heart surgery so I felt bad after drinking one glass. My son took me to the hospital and I spent the night there. However, we drank the same rakı the next day [Nov. 22.] He [the victim] felt bad the next day,” said Durgun. 

After sleeping for another day, his friend lost his sight and was hospitalized but could not be saved, the witness said. 

However, Durgun said he would continue to drink bootleg alcohol, since legal rakı was too expensive. 

“The 50 cl [sized bottle of bootleg] rakı is 10 [Turkish] Liras. The legal one is 50 liras. I would drink [bootleg rakı] again because I earn only 50 liras a day,” he said, adding there were 15 stores selling rakı in 50 cl plastic water bottles in his neighborhood. 

Police officers found 400 liters of counterfeit rakı during a raid on an illegal manufacturing facility which produced the product for the suspects’ store. 

Three other suspects were released by the court pending trial, while one other suspect was released by the prosecutor. Police are currently searching for two more suspects. 

In a separate incident, police seized 260 bottles of smuggled alcohol on a Cook Islands flagged ship, which came to the İzmir port from Ukraine. 

In late October and earlier this month, some 28 people died from alcohol poisoning after drinking bootleg alcohol in Istanbul.