REPORTS on United Kingdom Royal Navy veteran Joromie Lewis, who died on December 5 in England after drinking from a “Pear D” bottle filled with liquid cocaine, stated at the weekend that the former sailor found the bottle in a warehouse.
Hampshire police have told BBC News that the deadly cocktail, housed in an ordinary plastic bottle that originally carried the popular soft drink, was part of a consignment ordered by a third party through an import/export company that Lewis worked for.
The drink is made by local manufacturer SM Jaleel and Company Limited, based in Otaheite Industrial Estate, which said last week that it does not export Pear D to the UK for sale in shops.
The company subsequently recalled, from Trinidad and Tobago and the region, all bottles of the drink bearing the code “BB Jan 08 14”, as a precautionary measure.
The BBC Online reported Hampshire police as saying that Lewis, a Vincentian-born resident of Gosport, was “wholly innocent” and had simply picked the bottle up off the floor of the warehouse and taken it home.
A small drink was enough to kill the 33-year-old, who died in hospital shortly after consuming it.
Hampshire police had issued a warning against “Pear D”, but later stated that there was no evidence of the fatal incident being anything but an isolated case.
Last Thursday, however, the UK Food Standards Agency issued an alert calling on shops to withdraw the drink if they find it and said investigations were continuing to find out whether more bottles of the product had been distributed in the UK.
Speaking on the contaminated bottle’s presence in the UK, Hampshire police’s Superintendent James Fulton was reported by the BBC as saying: “It is something which is known as a method that drug-smugglers will use as a way of bypassing border checks.Tragically, it has gone horribly wrong when Mr Lewis has wholly innocently had a drink from this bottle.”
Pastor David Price of Bridgemary Family Church, which Lewis attended, called him “an amazing guy” and told BBC News: “There are not many guys like him. He’d help anyone, day or night, he was just wonderful. He always had a smile and time for people.”
Price also described Lewis as “anti-drugs, anti-drink, anti-gambling”.
The UK Daily Mail reported online that cocaine in its powder form is highly soluble and half a kilogramme of the drug can be dissolved into a litre of water. It is then easily returned to its original powder state as 90 per cent can be decanted and filtered.
However, the liquid mixture is so lethal that just a teaspoon of it can be fatal.