As reported in Listin Diario, the authorities seek a Haitian identified as “Gerardo” who is accused as the person who sold the cleren that poisoned numerous persons reside or had been visiting Elías Piña. The authorities attribute the deaths of 16 people to drinking of the cleren. In addition, several other victims were hospitalized in Elías Piña, Dajabón and Santiago.
According to witnesses, the so-called Gerardo came to the bi-national market in Dajabon on Sunday night, 24 December with two tanks of cleren and sold all of it on the Monday. 25 December. It appears he has been selling it in the same way for several years with no problems, so it is thought that on this occasion the error in its manufacture was due to his suppliers rather than him.
Security agencies in Haiti and the Dominican Border Security Corps (Cesfront) and the Dominican Army Intelligence unit are involved in the search for the cleren vendor
In interviews conducted over the past few days with residents of the community Los Cercadillos, a small area in the municipality of Pedro Santana in Elías Piña, it became clear that local many stores source goods from Haitian vendors, including bread and sugar. However, following the cleren tragedy, people in this community are urging the authorities to prevent shop owners from stocking food products from Haiti, fearing that other goods from Haiti might also be contaminated.
Pedro Santana mayor, Hipólito Valenzuela, explained that the first three deaths occured in his town. The first was Julia Contreras, and having attended her funeral, her brother died hours later, and the following day, his 19-year old son.
In an editorial, Hoy observes the complacency of the sanitary authorities to the sale of cleren nationwide and how the authorities had not acted until the deaths occurred.
28 December 2017