Adulterated cocaine kills 16 people in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Authorities claim that tainted cocaine has killed at least 16 people and left 50 others hospitalized in Argentina’s Buenos Aires region.

The illegal narcotic was either laced with poison or “cut” with another chemical, according to investigators.

Anyone who bought cocaine in the previous 24 hours should throw it away, according to the regional security minister.

According to reports, the drugs were purchased in the same shantytown, and nine people have been arrested.

Investigators are expecting post-mortem examination findings to compare narcotics found in raids with those consumed by the victims.

The victims were sent to local hospitals from the Hurlingham, Tres de Febrero, and San Martn areas of the capital region.

People reported to be related to one of the victims attacked and destroyed an empty police car outside a Hurlingham hospital, according to local media.

Cocaine (hydrochloride) is a highly addictive stimulant that is snorted and derived from the leaves of coca plants.

Argentina, after the United States and Uruguay, was named the country with the third highest rate of cocaine usage per person in a 2019 research on drug consumption in the Americas.

According to the Buenos Aires Times, authorities in San Martn named four of the fatalities as Hernán Castro, 45, Martn López, 36, Dino Melgarejo, 33, and Fernando Yacante, whose age was not revealed.

One user claimed to have purchased cocaine from a person in the Puerta 8 shantytown in Tres de Febrero.

Sergio Berni, the Buenos Aires province’s security minister, said: “Every cocaine dealer who buys it cuts it. Some people do it with non-toxic materials like starch. Others use hallucinogens, and if there is no way to regulate them, they will fade away.”

However, as part of a “battle between drug dealers,” the narcotic was cut with a hazardous ingredient on this occasion, he was cited as saying by the AFP news agency.

According to the agency, authorities believe the chemical used to cut the cocaine contained a strong sedative.

Convulsions and heart attacks are suspected to have occurred in the victims.

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