As travel agents, tour operators and hotels face Dominican Republic cancellations, the FBI has joined the on-island investigation to determine what caused the recent deaths of tourists who drank from resort minibars. 

The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo said that Dominican authorities had asked the FBI to assist with toxicology analysis on the recent deaths of three Americans at a Bahia Principe resort complex, and that the results may take up to 30 days.

The three recent deaths prompted the families of three other Americans who reportedly died while in the Dominican Republic to say that at least two died after drinking from minibars. The Embassy said that "at this time we have no indication of any connection between those tragic losses and the cases currently under investigation." 

The Embassy further said that it is working with the government of the Dominican Republic and the private sector "at the highest levels to ensure that U.S. citizens are safe and feel safe while in the Dominican Republic."  

The Dominican Republic's Ministry of Tourism said it is working closely with authorities to solve the cases, including the National Police, the National Hotel Association (ASONAHORES) as well as with the FBI and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "to complete the investigations and keep the public informed as new findings arise."

The Ministry also said it was working with ASONAHORES to reinforce safety conditions and quality control in food and beverages.

"We are confident that we can provide a definitive answer as soon as possible," Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia in a statement. "You can also be sure that the necessary measures will be taken to make the country even safer for all visitors."

The Ministry stressed that that 6.6 million tourists visited the Dominican Republic last year, of which 3.2 million came from the U.S. and Canada, and that almost 30 million tourists have visited the country in the last five years.

Bahia Principe has not updated its statement since June 7, when it said that had established a "firm commitment to collaborating completely with the authorities." 

The company accused the media and other platforms of spreading "inaccurate and false information," saying that the alleged misinformation has negatively impacted the brand. 

"We completely disagree with the dissemination of false information issued publicly which threatens the image and reputation of the company and the integrity and rights of our employees and their families, reserving, where necessary, the right to take the appropriate legal action," Bahia Principe said.

Bahia Príncipe operates 14 hotels totaling some 7,100 guestrooms in the Dominican Republic.

Two of the tourist deaths occurred at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. 

"We are currently waiting for official reports regarding these deaths, which occurred in July of 2018 and April of 2019, respectively," the property said in an emailed statement. 

The Hard Rock also said, "We currently implement beverage protocols, including purchasing sealed and unopened products from licensed and reputable vendors, as well as daily inspections of all products served throughout the hotel bars and in-room liquor dispensers. Additionally, our team members are trained to inspect all supplies, equipment and products that enter the property. Of course, we will continue to evaluate and recalibrate our protocols to strengthen and enhance guest safety."


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