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Russia’s Investigative Committee says 18 people die of methanol poisoning in Yekaterinburg

According to the investigation, the crime scene has already been searched, witnesses questioned and forensic tests ordered

YEKATERINBURG, October 16. /TASS/. Criminal proceedings have been instituted after 18 people died of methanol poisoning in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-biggest city located in the Urals, the Russian Investigative Committee’s branch for the Sverdlovsk Region said on Saturday.

"Investigative bodies of Russia’s Investigative Committee’s department for the Sverdlovsk Region have instituted and are investigating a criminal case on the grounds of a crime under Part 3 of Article 238 of Russia’s Criminal Code (sale of goods and products which do not meet safety standards, which have entailed by negligence the death of two or more persons)," the press release says adding that 18 people died of methanol poisoning.

According to the investigation, on October 7 through 14, several individuals were selling methyl alcohol in the city of Yekaterinburg. The crime scene has already been searched, witnesses questioned and forensic tests ordered.

Valery Gorelykh, the spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry’s branch for the Sverdlovsk Region, told reporters that police had apprehended two suspects, local residents born in 1978 and 1967, he said.

"Police officers are looking into the suspects’ connections and into how long they had been involved in illegal business. They are also establishing the exact number of victims," he added.

Following the incident, the prosecutor’s office demanded that marketplaces be inspected to find whether "counterfeit alcohol is sold there," an aide to the prosecutor for the Sverdlovsk Region said.