UK & World News
Cocaine-Laced Pear Juice Drink Kills Man
A 33-year-old man has died after drinking a pear drink manufactured in the Caribbean which contained a lethal amount of cocaine.
Joromie Lewis, of Gosport, Hampshire, became ill immediately after drinking the pear fruit drink in Southampton.
He died within hours at Southampton General Hospital on December 5.
A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: "It appears from police inquiries that Mr Lewis ingested a small amount of liquid in the belief he was drinking a genuine pear drink."
A post-mortem was carried out on Saturday, December 7. The results are inconclusive and toxicology tests are being carried out.
The spokeswoman continued: "On Wednesday (December 11) police received laboratory test results which showed that the liquid in the juice bottle contained a lethal amount of cocaine.
"Police now have established that the bottle of Cole Cold Pear D fruit drink was manufactured in the Caribbean and the company did not export this drink to the UK."
The Food Standards Agency has issued an alert to all local authorities to contact retailers to withdraw Pear D if it is found.
Detective Superintendent Richard Pearson, who is leading the police investigation called Operation Crab, said: "We are working closely with partner agencies, including Southampton's Regulatory Services, Public Health England, the Food Standards Agency and other law enforcement agencies, including the National Crime Agency, to minimise any risk to the public and to investigate the circumstances leading to the tragic death of Mr Lewis.
"We are supporting his family and linking closely with public health departments.
"We have taken clear advice from partner agencies and, in light of the analysis of the contents of the bottle, a decision was made to issue the public alert by the Food Standards Agency.
"Inquiries to date have not identified any further incidents or similar bottles.
"The investigation suggests that this was likely to be a rogue bottle from a consignment of drugs stored in plastic juice bottles.
"If anyone finds a bottle of Pear D juice, do not open the bottle.
"If sealed, the bottle is perfectly safe. Take the bottle to the nearest police station, and we will examine the contents if appropriate."
Mr Lewis's widow, Jayrusha Lewis, said her husband was a "selfless and devoted family man".
She said: "Joromie Lewis was a Royal Navy veteran, originally from St Vincent and the Grenadines.
"He was a devoted family-oriented man with a selfless attitude to help others, and always knew the right words and advice to give."
Anyone who finds they have a bottle of Pear-D should take it to their local police station and are advised to contact the Food Standards Agency on 020 7276 8448.