YEREVAN — Eleven people have died and several others have been hospitalized over the past two days after drinking bootleg alcohol in Armenia, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.
Three of the hospitalized individuals are in a critical condition, the ministry reported in a statement. It suggested that they were poisoned by bootleg vodka.
According to the statement, most of the victims are residents of Armavir, a town 46 kilometers west of Yerevan.
Another Armavir resident, a 50-year-old man identified as Ashot Hovsepian, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of illegally producing and selling alcohol.
Armenia’s Investigative Committee said it is now trying to identify other people who have bought alcohol from Hovsepian. The law-enforcement agency urged them to avoid drinking it and to cooperate with investigators.
“At the moment, a consignment of unsold alcohol has been seized and measures are being taken to identify and seize the vodka already purchased by citizens. According to preliminary data, we are talking about methyl alcohol poisoning, laboratory tests of confiscated samples are being carried out,” the Investigative Committee said said in a statement.
The inspectorate calls on citizens to refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages of unknown origin and reminds that the circulation of drinks of unknown origin is prohibited.
The Ministry of Health also reported efforts to “ascertain the circle of consumers of the alcoholic beverage” sold by the suspect. Health authorities have taken samples of the beverage determine its chemical composition through laboratory tests, said the ministry.