Police issue alert as man dies after drinking juice laced with cocaine

Police-issued image showing a bottle of Pear D drink
Police-issued image showing a bottle of Pear D drink
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A Royal Navy veteran has died after unknowingly taking a sip from a bottle of pear juice mixed with a lethal dose of cocaine.

Joromie Lewis, 33, of Kings Road in Gosport, fell ill immediately after drinking a pear fruit drink in Southampton.

Joromie Lewis

Joromie Lewis

He died within hours at Southampton General Hospital on December 5.

Police enquiries revealed Mr Lewis, pictured left, ingested a small amount of liquid in the belief he was drinking a genuine pear drink.

Yesterday police received the results of a laboratory test which showed the liquid in the juice bottle contained a lethal amount of cocaine.

A post mortem examination was carried out on Saturday, but the results were inconclusive and further toxicology tests are now being carried out.

Police have established that the bottle of Cole Cold Pear D fruit drink was manufactured in the Caribbean, and the company did not export the drink to the UK.

The Food Standards Agency has today issued an alert to all local authorities to contact retailers to withdraw Pear D if it is found.

Detective Superintendent Richard Pearson is leading the police investigation, Operation Crab.

He 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.

‘Enquiries 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 like the picture, 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.’

Anyone who finds they have a bottle of Pear-D should bring it to their local police station and are advised to contact the Food Standards Agency on 020 7276 8448.

Statement from the family of Joromie Lewis

Jayrusha Lewis has released a tribute to her husband who died after drinking what he thought was a pear juice drink.

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.

‘His exemplary conduct and actions touched the lives and hearts of many.

‘He was a member of the Bridgemary Family Church.’