One dinner patron has died and seven remain hospitalized after drinking Champagne laced with Ecstasy at a Valentine’s weekend dinner at an Italian restaurant in Weiden, Germany.
Police have opened a negligent-homicide investigation into the death after finding more than 1,000 times the normal dosage of the drug in the Champagne. The content was so high it had turned the champagne purple, German media report.
Local media reports suggest the diners were celebrating an early Valentines Day on Sunday night at the restaurant, where they watched television and then ordered a bottle if the apparently poisoned bubbly. Witnesses say the diners toasted and took only one drink before falling ill.
“We can confirm that after the first investigations there was Ecstasy in the liquid, in a significant concentration,” senior public prosecutor Gerd Schäfer told reporters Monday. “There were things in it that don’t actually happen in a Champagne.”
A spokesman for local police said the bottle was in its original packaging and opened at the table in front of the guests and it is unclear how the substance made its way into the bottle. German media have reported that the bottle may have been used in illegal drug trafficking and perhaps did not contain Champagne at all, but rather a substance to keep the drug in liquid form. Police are investigating how the restaurant acquired the champagne and if there are other bottles in their wine cellar.
Patrons at the restaurant described how, one by one, the people at the table started having seizures or passing out after taking just one sip. When first responders arrived after midnight, several of the stricken diners, ranging in age from 33 to 52, were sprawled out on the floor, a police spokesperson told reporters Monday morning. “Some of them showed symptoms of poisoning,” the spokesperson said. A 52-year-old male died in a hospital emergency room, which was closed off out of fears of contamination tied to the tragedy.
Lab reports confirmed the identity of the substance Monday, but the prosecutor did not say if arrests were imminent.