MOSCOW – Thirty-three people in a Siberian region have died after drinking homemade alcohol containing a poisonous substance, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Wednesday.
The Magadan region's deputy governor, Yuri Muromtsev, said the victims, mostly men between the ages of 45 and 60, died between Oct. 28 and Nov. 6 after being poisoned by methanol, a common industrial substance used as a transportation fuel.
Interfax reported earlier this week that at least 30 people had been poisoned by tainted alcohol and that 25 of them had died, and said four women had been arrested on charges of illegal production and sale of alcohol products.
But ITAR-Tass quoted an unnamed official at the Russian prosecutor general's office as saying only that a court had issued arrest warrants for two suspects.
Officials say thousands of people die in Russia every year from drinking poisonous homemade or illegally produced alcohol or fake alcohol, often made from wood alcohol that is meant for industrial purposes.
According to ITAR-Tass, police said most of the victims in Magadan, about 3,700 miles east of Moscow, were unemployed people who got the lethal substance at outlets where they came to return bottles for the deposit.