Home LATEST NEWS Argentina: adulterated cocaine kills 20, hospitalizes 74

Argentina: adulterated cocaine kills 20, hospitalizes 74

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An initial toll of 12 dead and around fifty hospitalized increased over the course of the evening, with victims admitted to eight hospitals in the agglomeration, confirmed to theFrance Media Agency a spokesman for the provincial government of Buenos Aires.

The authorities on Wednesday afternoon launched an urgent appeal through the media. Those who bought drugs in the last 24 hours should throw them away, said the Minister of Security of the province of Buenos Aires, Sergio Berni. The authorities are in the process to try to locate the toxic substance in order to remove it from circulation, he added.

Police operations were carried out in the disadvantaged suburbs, holding in places of the shantytown, of Loma Hermosa, in the north-west of the capital, and a dozen people were arrested, according to the provincial minister who visited the scene.

Sachets of cocaine were seized there in a room that was able to visit theFrance Media Agency, similar to those identified by relatives of victims, Berni added. The cut drug was being analyzed in a laboratory in La Plata.

Convulsions and cardiac arrests

The alert was raised Wednesday morning when several deaths and hospitalizations for poisoning, of varying degrees of severity, occurred at three separate hospitals in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, in Hurlingham, Tres de Febrero and San Martin. Several of the hospitalized told the caregivers that they had used cocaine together.

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The victims, including several men in their thirties and forties, suffered violent convulsions and sudden cardiac arrests, according to medical reports quoted by several media. There is an important component that attacks the central nervous system, said Mr. Berni.

Béatriz Mercado told theFrance Media Agency that she found her 31-year-old son at dawn lying in the kitchen. I thought he forgot to turn off the lights, and I saw it. Bad very bad. He was barely breathing, his eyes rolled back. I understood that he had fallen face down, because he had a scratch on his nose. She took him to the hospital, where he was in the evening on life support.

Our concern today is to be able to communicate, so that those who are in possession of this poison know that they should not consume, declared on Radio Miter the prosecutor of San Martin responsible for the file, Marcelo Lapargo.

Investigators feared that the toll could rise, with the discovery of victims who would not have had the time or the means to get closer to a care center. There are deaths on the public highway or in homes, of which it has not been possible to determine the number, said fear an official source.

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Violent searches

When we say bad cocaine, we are not talking here about rotten or expired cocaine, but cut with a toxic substance, Berni explained.

Every dealer who buys cocaine cuts it. Some do this with non-toxic substances, such as starch. Others put hallucinogens in it and if there’s no control, this stuff happens, he added.

Prosecutor Lapargo estimated that the track of deliberate adulteration of cocaine, as part of a settling of scores between rival drug traffickers and mentioned by several media, was at this stage, guesswork.

In the afternoon, clashes briefly opposed residents of Loma Hermosa, who were protesting against the arrest of young people as part of the investigation, and threw stones at the police.

In Loma Hermosa, residents remained vehement Wednesday evening, particularly upset against the police who during their searches ransacked or destroyed homes, they told several media, including theFrance Media Agency.

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