Argentina Drugs: Tainted cocaine kills 20 people in Buenos Aires.
Authorities report that tainted cocaine has killed at least 20 people and left 74 others hospitalized in Argentina’s Buenos Aires region.
Argentina Drugs: The illegal narcotic was either laced with poison or “cut” with another chemical, according to investigators. Anyone who bought cocaine in the previous 24 hours should throw it away, according to the regional security minister.
According to reports, the drugs were purchased in the same shanty town, and nine people have been arrested.
Investigators are expecting post-mortem examination findings to compare narcotics found in raids with those consumed by the victims.
The victims were transferred to ten different local hospitals from the capital region’s Hurlingham, Tres de Febrero, and San Martin districts.
According to local media, someone connected to one of the victims attacked and destroyed an empty police car outside a Hurlingham hospital.
Cocaine (hydrochloride) is a highly addictive stimulant that is snorted and derived from the leaves of coca plants.
Argentina, after the United States and Uruguay, was named the country with the third-highest rate of cocaine usage per person in a 2019 research on drug consumption in the Americas.
According to the Buenos Aires Times, authorities in San Martin named four of the fatalities as Hernán Castro, 45, Martin López, 36, Dino Melgarejo, 33, and Fernando Yacante, whose age was not revealed.
Police raids were carried out after one user claimed to have purchased cocaine from a person in the Puerta 8 shantytown in Tres de Febrero.
Cocaine was later discovered in parcels similar to those provided by a relative of one of the deceased.
Security minister for Buenos Aires province, Sergio Berni stated: “Every dealer that buys cocaine cuts it. Some do it with non-toxic substances such as starch. Others put hallucinogens, and if there is no form of control, those things pass.”
On this occasion, however, the drug was cut with a harmful substance as part of a “war between drug-traffickers”, he was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
According to the agency, authorities believe the chemical used to cut the cocaine contained a strong sedative.
San Martin attorney-general Marcelo Lapargo stated: “This event is exceptional. We have no precedent.”
He added: “We think the substance was added deliberately, it’s not a processing error.”
Convulsions and heart attacks are suspected to have occurred in the victims.
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