A “liquid cocaine” concoction in a “Pear D” soft-drink bottle led to the death last week Thursday of Royal Navy veteran Joromie Lewis in the United Kingdom.
Local manufacturers of the soft drink, SM Jaleel & Company Ltd, have since issued a voluntary recall of all “Pear D” drinks bearing the code “BB Jan 08 14”.
The company, in a media release yesterday, stated it does not export to the United Kingdom and the drink must have entered that country through other means.
Lewis, 32, is said to have consumed the drink on December 5 and he succumbed shortly after.
His death went public yesterday, but details were scant as to how he came across the contaminated beverage.
SM Jaleel, which has manufacturing plants around the Caribbean, said it has been informed by the Hampshire Constabulary that the plastic, 20-ounce “Pear D” bottle appears to have been tampered with.
Reports from online media stated the bottle might have been used to smuggle cocaine in liquid form into the UK.
It was unclear how the Royal Navy “vet”, of Kings Road, Gosport, came across the drink. According to reports online, he believed he was having a genuine pear drink.
Lewis is said to have consumed a small amount and died within hours at the Southampton General Hospital last Thursday night.
Online media further reported a post-mortem on Saturday, December 7, was “inconclusive” and more toxicology tests are being carried out.
SM Jaleel stated the Trinidad and Tobago public need not worry about the safety of consuming the popular drink but items from the batch mentioned above have been recalled.
“Pear D has 25 years of trust, quality and family tradition in Trinidad and Tobago and, as a company, we are shocked and saddened to see our product abused and used in such a sinister manner,” SM Jaleel stated.
“Our deepest condolences are extended to the family and loved ones of Joromie Lewis at this time.”
The company will continue to assist the Hampshire police, it said.
The company has been told by investigators the label on the contaminated bottle was not in compliance with the UK’s label regulations and could not have passed through UK Customs or any other official ports of entry.