Health Emergency in Texas Due to Repeated Cases of Disfiguring Counterfeit Beauty Treatments

Black Market BotoxTexas authorities at both the regional and Federal level have combatting a rash of injuries and deaths caused by counterfeit cosmetic injections. From fake dermal fillers and other counterfeit versions of beauty treatments to industrial silicone injections sealed with superglue, these fake injectable cosmetic peddlers are putting the lives of Texas women at risk.

The Dallas case of Denise “Wee Wee” Ross and Jimmy “Alicia” Clarke began in 2015, when a client of the pair reported suffering pain and injuries as a result of treatment by them at their Deep Ellum salon, the Dallas Morning News reports. Additionally, they report that the pair are being investigated in the death of Wykesha Reid, whose body was found last February at the abandoned salon.

Ross and Clarke are accused of posing as medical professionals, and injecting customers with hydrogel, and sealing the injections with superglue, according to CW33 in Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News Crime blog notes that Ross faced similar charges in 2010, but the case never went to trial. Patricia Kelly, family member of the dead woman told the Crime blog, “They should’ve locked her up then and they didn’t. If they had, this wouldn’t have happened. My baby would still be alive.”

The Dallas case follows on the heels of a successful federal prosecution of a similar black market cosmetic injectable practitioner. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports the sentencing of Maribel Quintero, who pleaded guilty to charges that she administered illegally imported silicone to unsuspecting Texas customers. Quintero is currently serving out her 16-month sentence for violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.

According to the Monitor, Quintero was administering a liquid form of Plexiglas to her unsuspecting customers. They also report her initial arrest came after she was caught crossing the border from Mexico with two large bottles labeled Remplissage that were filled with a thick, clear substance.

These more recent cases follow a series of prosecutions in South Texas beauty salons. In 2014, individuals at 3 different beauty salons, Elva Navarro, Nohemi Gonzalez, and Graciela Leon, all faced prosecution on allegations that they administered dangerous counterfeit cosmetic injections to clients. Those cases are all currently pending.

The spate of injectable cosmetic injuries due to counterfeit treatments is not unique to Texas. To learn more about how counterfeit injectable cosmetics are a nationwide problem, please read Black Market Cosmetic Injectables in the U.S. 2005-2013.

By S. Imber