Two people in Hialeah were arrested Thursday, accused of injecting a foreign solution known to cause cancer into victims’ buttocks.
Samela Hernandez, 53, and Pedro Hernandez, 57, were charging clients for buttocks-enhancing procedures, according to police.
Hialeah Police said one victim received treatments in the course of two years. She was deformed and sensitive after the first injection.
Still, the suspects responded by injecting more of the solution into the void area of the buttocks to “fill in” gaps between welts that had formed, police said.
That victim told police she was last treated by the defendants in November and the procedures left her permanently deformed.
Police said the solution the suspects used was banned in Colombia years ago because of its tendency to cause cancer.
According to investigators, the solution was shipped to the duo from Colombia. Police said the two arranged to have the solution bottled in an indiscriminate bottle and falsely identified as "massage wax."
After receiving a warrant to search the couple’s home, police said they found a large quantity of medical supplies and equipment consistent with those used in the practice of medicine.
Police said they found bottles of solution labeled as one of the victims described, along with new and old syringes, blank prescription forms, forged prescription forms, cartridges and bottles of lidocaine, and mepivacaine.
One victim told police she agreed to the treatment because she was led to believe Samela Hernandez was a nurse. Police said a client list dating back to 2008 was found in their home.
Both Samela and Pedro Hernandez have been charged with practicing medicine without a license, possession of blank prescription forms, and unlicensed practice of healthcare profession causing serious injury.
Neighbor Diego Del Rio told Local 10's Christina Vazquez the takedown was dramatic. According to Del Rio, 30 to 40 officers dressed in tactical gear swarmed the home, closed down the street and arrested the pair in front of stunned neighbors.
Del Rio said he felt "ashamed" for the pair, even though he found the charges alarming.
The neighbor said he'd often see cars coming and going from the home, but he figured it was just family members.
Del Rio said he believes the pair are husband and wife and that they have several adult children.
He also said it surprised him when police said the two were running an illegal medical clinic from their home because both left their house each morning.
He thought they were going to work, "just like everyone else."