2 suspected of doing illegal liposuction, augmentation in Tucson

2013-08-07T00:00:00Z 2013-08-07T10:31:56Z 2 suspected of doing illegal liposuction, augmentation in TucsonCarmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of performing breast-augmentation and liposuction procedures without medical licenses, authorities said Tuesday.

Two women who underwent the procedures became severely ill and had to go to the hospital.

Gustavo Nuñez, 50, and Ilda Garcia, 39, both of Tucson, were arrested Aug. 1 and face felony charges, including possession of dangerous drugs and practicing medicine without a license, said Ramona Sanchez, a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent.

Nuñez is a U.S. citizen and Garcia is a Mexican national, Sanchez said. They were booked into the Pima County jail and released on their own recognizance, she said.

The charges arise from a three-month investigation conducted by the DEA's Tactical Diversion Squad, which includes officers from the Tucson and South Tucson police departments.

An investigation uncovered evidence that Nuñez performed illegal medical procedures at his clinic known as NuTec, located in an industrial warehouse at 1656 N. 15th Ave. There are indications the clinic began operating in 2012, said Sanchez.

It operated in an industrial area north of West Speedway and west of North Oracle Road. No one answered the door there Tuesday.

The clinic's website lists Nuñez as president of the company, Sanchez said.

On at least two occasions, Nuñez performed liposuction and breast-augmentation procedures at his clinic on two women, said Sanchez.

Both women suffered severe complications and later sought treatment at hospitals, Sanchez said.

Nuñez also prescribed controlled substances to the women, which caused one patient to become unconscious for several hours.

The first victim, who reported the botched liposuction and breast augmentation to Tucson police in March, sought emergency treatment at Tucson Medical Center, according to court documents.

The woman was admitted and underwent "a procedure to repair the complications," documents state.

Court documents do not say how much the first victim paid Nuñez.

The second victim, who reported her botched procedure to police in July, said she paid $1,600 for the removal of fat from her abdomen that was injected into her buttocks, documents state.

After the procedure, the victim said, she developed a fever and severe complications, and texted Nuñez letting him know she was going to an emergency room, court documents state. She sought treatment at Northwest Medical Center.

When Nuñez was questioned by agents in May, he said he did liposuction procedures only under the supervision of a physician at a Mexican clinic called Clinico Miguelangelo. Agents contacted Dr. Miguelangelo Gonzalez, who said he did not know or employ Nuñez.

Nuñez later said he "only conducts follow-up visits consisting of 'light therapy' and 'ultrasound' with no surgical procedures" at the Tucson clinic, according to court documents.

Nuñez and his aide performed these medical procedures and dispensed prescription drugs without a state medical license or a DEA registration, said Sanchez.

A search warrant served at Nuñez's clinic led to the seizure of various controlled substances including triazolam (Halcion), alprazolam (Xanax) and Valium, Sanchez said.

She said agents discovered three refrigerators filled with prescription drugs.

Also seized were liposuction needles, some of which were half-full with people's names on them.

Reused needles prepared for use were also seen in the clinic.

Sanchez said the clinic also sold instruments used in medical procedures.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has information about the clinic's operations or who has been a victim of the clinic is asked to call DEA Tactical Diversion Squad at 573-5500.

Nuñez said he "only conducts follow-up visits consisting of 'light therapy' and 'ultrasound' with no surgical procedures."

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or cduarte@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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