Saturday 25 May 2019

Irishman forced to empty bank accounts after being sprayed with date rape drug 'Devil's Breath' in Tenerife

  • Department of Foreign Affairs warns Irish tourists to be vigilant about date rape drugs in Spain
  • Wicklow man has phone, watch and hundreds of euro stolen after being sprayed with substance
  • Another Irishman was reported missing in the same area of Tenerife two weeks ago
Las Americas Beach in Adeje in Tenerife
Las Americas Beach in Adeje in Tenerife
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

An Irishman has warned tourists heading to the Spanish island Tenerife to be vigilant after he was sprayed with a date rape drug and forced to empty his bank accounts.

David Nelson (27) was on a break away with friends in March and has shared his "horrible experience" to help raise awareness about a dangerous drug known as "Devil's Breath".

Mr Nelson, an engineer from Bray, Co Wicklow, who is currently working in Switzerland, was staying in Adeje and went out for drinks in the Playa de las Las Americias area on March 23.

At the end of the night he lost the group and went to get a taxi back to his apartment when he was approached by a woman.

The incident happened in Playa de Las Americas
The incident happened in Playa de Las Americas

He claims she tried to seduce him and when he pushed her away, he was "sprayed in the face with a substance".

"I was later informed by police it was the date rape drug 'Devil's Breath'," he told Independent.ie.

"I remember very few things after being sprayed. My phone was taken, gold watch, bracelet, €600 from my wallet and I was then taken to a ATM and the girl proceeded to take what money she could from my Irish and Swiss bank accounts until the cards declined. This drug turns you into a zombie."

The police report described the woman as being between 20 and 30 years old with curly hair.

He said the police told him that tourists are regularly attacked with the drug scopolamine, more commonly known as Devil's Breath.

The substance has been blamed for thousands of crimes in South America and has now become a problem in European countries.

The United States's Overseas Security Advisory Council has issued many warnings about the drug, which it says can "disorient the victim and cause prolonged unconsciousness and serious medical problems".

"I had never heard of this drug before as I'm sure many others haven't either," Mr Nelson said.

"Even on the first night of my trip a man pursued me and was very persistent that me and my friend smell the weed that he was trying to sell. It wasn't until after what happened on me that I realise he may have been getting me to try inhale the smell that comes from Devil's Breath."

The Department of Foreign Affairs says that while it doesn't comment on individual cases, it acknowledged Spanish authorities have warned of date rape drugs being used.

"Don't inadvertently lower your alertness to these risks simply because you are on holiday," an advisory note on the DFA website reads.

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil was held over the weekend for another Irishman who was reported missing in Tenerfie in the same week that Mr Nelson was robbed.

Dad-of-two Peter Wilson (32) was last seen on the Canary island on March 23.

He travelled there from Dublin Airport on March 22 and was staying in the Malibu Park Hotel.

His family and friends have appealed on social media for anyone who may have seen him to get in contact.

He is believed to have been in the Costa Adeje and Playa de las Americas areas.

peter wilson.jpg
Missing Irishman Peter Wilson

The 32-year-old is around 5ft 8'' in height, has hazel eyes, dark brown hair and distinctive tattoos of a clock and roses on his arm.

"Please contact the police, in Tenerife or in Ireland, if you have any memory of seeing Peter from March 22nd onward," the appeal on Facebook said.

"Any sighting is important, your help is vital."

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs says it is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance to the family.

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