14 die in Russia of suspected methanol poisoning

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MOSCOW (AP) — Investigators in Russia say at least 14 people in a village in the Far East have died of apparent methanol poisoning after drinking counterfeit liquor.

Officials in the Krasnokamensk region said Sunday they believe the alcohol may have been imported from China, around hour's drive from the village. The federal Investigative Committee says a 49-year-old resident of the village, Krasny Velikan, has been detained on suspicion of selling the liquor.

Russia has for years battled in vain to combat a lucrative trade in counterfeit alcohol, much of which is now carried out online.

The official minimum price for a half-liter of vodka was raised earlier this month to 199 rubles ($5.40), a move that experts worry could lead to a spike in the consumption of moonshine.

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