Gustavo Nuñez

A man arrested twice for performing or attempting to perform illegal liposuctions and causing serious injuries to women pleaded guilty Friday to 28 felony charges.

Gustavo Nuñez, who does not have a medical license, is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office. He entered his plea before Pima County Superior Court Judge Deborah Bernini. He is set for sentencing Aug. 7.

Seven victims had procedures performed by Nuñez between 2012 and 2104. Three women had to be hospitalized after botched surgeries and one sustained life-threatening injuries, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

In August 2013, Nuñez and his girlfriend, Ilda Garcia, were arrested after two women underwent procedures and became severely ill and had to go to the hospital. The women suffered “serious, aggressive infections stemming from liposuction procedures performed by Nuñez,” officials said.

One woman, who reported the botched liposuction and breast augmentation to Tucson police, sought emergency treatment at Tucson Medical Center.

Another woman, who also reported botched procedures to police, had fat removed from her abdomen and injected into her buttocks. She developed severe complications and sought emergency treatment at Northwest Medical Center.

The charges against Nuñez and Garcia, who was sentenced earlier to seven years in prison, came after a three-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and a subsequent investigation by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

The inquiries revealed that Nuñez was not a doctor and had no official medical training. In addition to the medical procedures, he dispensed prescription drugs.

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After the 2013 arrests, more women came forward to complain about procedures performed by Nuñez at his clinic, known as NuTec, which was located in an industrial warehouse east of Interstate 10 and north of West Speedway.

Shortly after his initial arrest, Nuñez was released on bond but was arrested again by sheriff’s deputies in June 2014 for performing liposuction on women out of his northwest-side home, in the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort.

One woman, on whom Nuñez had attempted to perform liposuction, stopped breathing, turned blue and began seizing. Nuñez waited nearly an hour before he drove her to Northwest Medical Center, court documents say.

The woman was in a coma for six weeks, suffering a brain injury. She has permanent stroke-like symptoms, authorities said.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar


Carmen started at the Star in 1981 and covers the aging population. She wrote “Mama’s Santos: An Arizona Life”, a book about the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in the Southwest through stories about her family. It won 11 awards.