2 Arrested in cosmetic surgery scam

Posted: Updated:
Gustavo Nunez's surgery room By Jennifer Thomas Gustavo Nunez's surgery room By Jennifer Thomas
One of many refrigerators filled with controlled substances By Jennifer Thomas One of many refrigerators filled with controlled substances By Jennifer Thomas
Cabinet full of injectable Lidocaine By Jennifer Thomas Cabinet full of injectable Lidocaine By Jennifer Thomas
Liposuction needles found in Gustavo Nunez's office By Jennifer Thomas Liposuction needles found in Gustavo Nunez's office By Jennifer Thomas
Entrance to NuTec International LLC in Tucson By Jennifer Thomas Entrance to NuTec International LLC in Tucson By Jennifer Thomas

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A Tucson man was arrested after a three-month investigation revealed he performed medical procedures without a license, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Tuesday.

Gustavo Nunez and his aide, Ilda Garcia, were arrested Thursday on felony charges including possession of dangerous drugs and practicing medicine without a license.

DEA officials said the investigation uncovered evidence that Nunez performed illegal medical procedures at his clinic known as NuTec located in an industrial warehouse in Tucson.

On at least two separate occasions, Nunez performed liposuction and breast augmentation procedures on two women, according to DEA officials. Both patients suffered severe complications following the procedures and were immediately admitted to Tucson emergency rooms.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman said Nunez also prescribed controlled substances to the patients after the procedures, causing one to become unconscious for several hours.

Nunez and Garcia performed the medical practices and dispensed prescription drugs without a state medical license or a DEA registration, according to Coleman.

"Mr. Nunez was not a doctor; he did not practice medicine -- instead he ran a scheme to victimize Arizonans by performing botched medical procedures and prescribing controlled substances without regard to the well-being of others," Coleman said.

"DEA and its partners will stand firm on its commitment to investigate and prosecute these type of illegal medical practices and prevent controlled substances from being diverted into the wrong hands and endangering the health of our citizens," he continued.

During a search of the clinic, agents seized various controlled substances, including triazolam (Halcion), alprazolam, Valium. The agents said they discovered three refrigerators filled with an assortment of prescription-only pharmaceuticals.

Agents also seized various liposuction needles, some of which were half full with people's names on them. Coleman said reused needles prepared for use were also seen in the clinic.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information concerning this matter is asked to contact the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad at 520-573-5500.