Operation Swill, Smiley Face Killers, dirty booze, bad bars
In January 2013, acting on a handful of tips and customer complaints, New Jersey's attorney general and the division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) secretly launched Operation Swill, a statewide sweep of its licensed bars with the aim of determining exactly what they're serving unsuspecting patrons.
The findings, disclosed just yesterday, are nothing short of shocking: From substituting inferior brands of liquor for top shelf ones, to actually serving rubbing alcohol dyed with food coloring so the lethal mix would appear to be scotch, bars as well known as TGI Friday's got caught in the sting.
And so did a few small pubs like Bells Tavern in Lambertville NJ, a quaint establishment located on the same Delaware River canal system that a popular bartender named Sarah Majoras is said to have slipped into and drowned in January ... not too far from her own residence.
Smiley Face Killers Connection?
In February 2013, Killing Killers conducted a poll to see how many readers believed Majoras' death was actually a violent crime and cover-up.
The circumstances of her allegedly drunken tumble into frozen waters while walking home after an evening of entertainment closely resembled that of many young men who've met up with similar fates during a night out with their friends.
It perfectly fit the pattern of suspicious cold-weather drownings that had begun in 1997 with Patrick McNeill's in Manhattan; some of which were said to accompany ominous-looking smiley face graffiti.
Nearly 90 percent of those who voted in the KK crime poll responded unequivocally that Sarah Majoras had been murdered and her body then dumped in the canal near her home to make it seem like a "tragic accident."
How far does the conspiracy go?
The act of pouring cheap booze into fancy bottles so to illicitly increase one's profits is pretty darn crooked, for sure. But switching liquor with dyed rubbing alcohol, a sterilizing liquid not intended to be ingested, is dangerously criminal -- this toxin can cause not only severe poisoning but sudden death.
How long these illegal activities have been going on and whether anyone's been injured and/or died as a result has yet to be determined. However, considering the number and prominence of the suspects rounded up this month, it's doubtful such deceptive practices are limited to only New Jersey.
Consumer fraud and wrongful death, both types of offenses carry stiff penalities, as well as the potential for lasting damage to a bar or restaurant chain's reputation...
So the question now begs: How far would the guilty go to prevent discovery?