A man has died after drinking what he thought was health juice, but was in fact a bottle of pure crystal meth in a lethal dosage. Romano Dias, 55, of Cambridgeshire, took one gulp of the drink and told his partner that it tasted awful. He then said his throat was on fire and then “I am in trouble here. I am dying. I am dead.” Sadly, his prophecy was correct. He died soon after.
The story of how the crystal meth came to be in Mr Dias’ hand that fateful day is somewhat circuitous. A botched conspiracy to import the Class A drug into the United Kingdom, led, by a sequence of strange errors and accidents, to his door. It all began three years ago when a package was received at the home of Katee, Dias’ daughter.
Katee was puzzled by the parcel. Although it was addressed to her London home, it was not in her name. She set it aside in case someone should come by to ask for it. No-one ever did. It seemed to contain a bottle of health drink. After a while, she gave it to her father.
Whatever compelled Romano Dias to eventually taste the juice, after it had been in possession for those intervening years will now never be known. He had consumed almost half of it, when it brought about his painful demise. The crystal meth was valued at £34,000. ($58,000).
A pathologist reporting on the case, Dr John Grant, said that the methamphetamine levels in the bottle were well above fatal limits. One of the effects it would have had would induce abnormal heart rhythms, causing the heart to arrest. Far from containing healthy juice, that bottle contained absolutely lethal amounts of crystal meth.
The Cambridgeshire Coroner, William Morris, said “This is a dreadful case.” Local police were puzzled by it. They admitted they had rarely encountered this drug in their locality before. Detective Inspector Ian Simmons, speaking at the inquest, said “I would say it is highly likely that it was destined for a dealer.” He went on to add, “This was a completely unaccountable and unforeseen chain of events.”
There is no suggestion that anybody in the Dias family was in any way connected to the drug or its importation. It was clearly a case of mistaken identity. The Coroner had to reject a verdict of unlawful killing, due to lack of any evidence that the lethal drug was ever intended for Romano Dias. Accidental death was recorded.
Crystal meth is rare in Britain. It is mostly only known about through the storylines of the cult US television series Breaking Bad. Highly potent, it would normally be snorted, smoked or injected, not drunk in liquid form. It is usually, as the name suggests, found in the solid form of crystals.
It is certainly a strange and sad story, that a bottle of supposedly healthy fruit juice drink turned out to have such lethal contents, that led inevitably to this man’s overdose on crystal meth.
By Kate Henderson