PRAGUE — Health inspectors in the Czech Republic said Tuesday they had seized thousands of bottles of counterfeit rum containing deadly amounts of poisonous methanol.
The seizure comes after the deaths of 28 people in September and October, when victims in the Czech Republic died after swallowing methanol-tainted, bootleg drinks.
Inspectors confiscated 3,300 litres (870 gallons) of methanol-containing liquid, including 7,600 bottles of counterfeit “Tuzemak”, a popular brand of Czech rum.
The spirits contained a “highly toxic mix packaged by the producer as a food product ready for distribution and retail sale,” health inspectors said in a statement.
“The concentration in the volume that was seized could have killed thousands of people,” it said.
Authorities did not immediately say how or if the seizure was linked to the recent deadly toxic-drink scare.
Two men suspected of masterminding that bootleg operation face up to life in prison if found guilty.
Police say they have full confessions from the suspects, who admitted deliberately concocting a lethal mixture of methanol and ethanol for public consumption and releasing it on to the Czech market.
Following the arrests, the Czech government eased a ban on sales of spirits with alcohol content over 20 percent produced before January 1, 2012.