Category: Media & Culture / September 24, 2012 4:00 PM EDT
Czech police on Monday said they had damaged the network they believe distributed bootleg alcohol laced with methanol, charging two with making the deadly mix that has killed 25 people this month and shut down the country's spirits industry.
Investigators have tried for weeks to get to the source of the central European country's worst health scare in decades. The lethal bootleg booze has put dozens in hospital, many suffering blindness or lying in induced comas.
The government last week extended a ban on the sale of spirits in bars and shops, including stopping all liquor exports, hitting companies' sales and reputations in its European Union markets.
The police got a big break last week when they found thousands of liters of suspect liquid in the industrial northeast, where the first cases of poisoning appeared at the start of the month, but the police president said police have yet to completely dismantle the distribution network.
Distilleries are losing millions of crowns a day in revenue and most have temporarily shut down production. Exports of Czech spirits were worth $80 million last year.
The government has vowed to get liquor back on bar and supermarket shelves as early as this week, as soon as it can impose new safety measures.
A regular government meeting on Wednesday is due to discuss easing restrictions.