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Cocaine drink death: five arrested
Five people have been arrested on suspicion of drugs offences in connection with the death of a Royal Navy veteran who died after drinking a pear drink laced with cocaine.
Joromie Lewis, 33, of Kings Road, Gosport, Hampshire, became ill immediately after drinking the pear fruit drink, which contained a lethal amount of the drug.
His death on December 5 led the Food Standards Agency to issue an alert to all local authorities to contact retailers to withdraw any bottles of Pear D from their shelves. Detectives believe the drink may have been used by drug smugglers to import cocaine into the country in a liquid form.
Hampshire Police have arrested four men and a woman who have since been bailed pending further inquiries.
Detective superintendent Dick Pearson said: "This is a complex investigation covering the circumstances surrounding Mr Lewis' death, as well as the drug trafficking offences.
"Mr Lewis' family have been kept up to date with developments, including these five arrests for drugs offences."
The details of the arrests come as a private family funeral was being held today for Mr Lewis in his home town.
Mr Lewis consumed the drink in Southampton on December 5 and died within hours at Southampton General Hospital.
A Hampshire Police spokesman said that one of its lines of inquiries was that the drink had been used to smuggle cocaine into the UK in a liquid form.
The investigation is continuing and they are awaiting toxicology results to establish an exact cause of death, the spokesman said.
Police have established that the bottle of Cole Cold Pear D fruit drink was manufactured in the Caribbean and the company did not export this drink to the UK.
Mr Lewis' widow, Jayrusha Lewis, said in a statement released after his death that her husband was a "selfless and devoted family man".
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."
T wo men and a woman from Southampton, all aged 37, were arrested on December 23 and have been bailed until April 8, 2014.
Two men aged 33 and 39, both from London, were arrested on December 20 and 22. The 33-year-old has been bailed until April 3 and the 39-year-old has been bailed until April 8.