LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A family ran at least two illegal pharmacies and doctor’s offices in the Las Vegas valley, leading at least one “patient” to suffer permanent scarring from a butt injection, according to documents the 8 News Now Investigators obtained.
Susana Alvarez, Maria Menjivar and Gume Montano face charges connected to the selling of Mexican pharmaceuticals and unlicensed medical care, documents said. Police identified Menjivar and Montano as married and Alvarez as their daughter.
The San Pedro Store, located on Rancho Drive near Washington Avenue, was closed as of Thursday. The business was registered under Menjivar and Montano’s names with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, records showed.
The store was not licensed to practice medicine nor furnish prescription drugs, documents said.
In 1999, Montano was convicted in southern California on a smuggling charge, documents said. Police said details in that case were similar to what they found in Las Vegas.
Metro police began their investigation into the San Pedro Store following an unrelated investigation in 2021, documents said. An illegal dentist, who is not identified in the report, suggested the officer go to the store to get medicine.
The detective then went to the store and watched “a steady flow of customers in and out of the business,” many who “were leaving with black plastic bags,” and at least one who was carrying a box of pain medication, documents said.
An undercover officer entered the store, telling staff their mother was having a toothache.
“The employees told the [undercover officer] how to remedy the medical issues and prescribed and sold the [undercover officer] medicine,” documents said. “The [officer] was also offered an injection for allergies, which were being administered behind the counter.”
The employees then sold the undercover officer Mexican pharmaceuticals, police said.
Officers later located a second San Pedro Store on Sahara Avene near Nellis Boulevard, police said.
Police conducted an undercover buy at the Rancho store in September 2021 where they paid for Mexican pharmaceuticals not allowed to be sold in the United States, they said.
During an undercover buy in February 2022, an employee, who police later identified as Alvarez, told the undercover office about a “doctor from Mexico” who had availability at the store, documents said. The officer later purchased a Mexican pharmaceutical banned in the United States.
During another buy that month, police said Montano sold them Mexican pharmaceuticals and Menjivar “was loading syringes at the counter,” documents said.
In July 2022, the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy received a complaint about the business, police said. A man received a vitamin “injection in the buttocks and had an immediate reaction,” documents said. The man developed a hematoma with “discolored, blackened and scarred skin.” The patient went to the store due to a lack of medical insurance, police said.
That month, Metro raided the store, seizing pounds of “dangerous drugs,” “hypodermic needles” and “needles with medication,” documents said.
Following the store’s closure, police allege its owners opened up shop in a business space next door, documents said.
Also in August 2022, police visited the Sahara store where an employee offered them Mexican pharmaceuticals and mentioned a “doctor was available,” documents said.
“Once summoned by the doctor to see him, the [officer] described having been given pain pills a few weeks prior and they weren’t working,” documents said. “The doctor advised the [officer’s] muscles were too tight and that was pinching a nerve, which was causing the pain. When asked what the [officer] could do to relieve the pain, the doctor advised they would need a series of three injections.”
The doctor then handed the undercover officer a “prescription” on a piece of paper to give to another employee, documents said.
The business was also “using Clorox bleach bottles as needle disposal containers,” documents said.
Investigators later found a storage unit where they said Montano stored boxes of medication.
“Unlicensed medical facilities and unlicensed medical personnel often attract underprivileged patients by promising cheap medical care,” a detective wrote in the reports. “Because there are not any regulations or oversight, the general public’s health is risked as medical procedures can be conducted in unsanitary conditions and/or medications prescribed in violation of the law.”
Montana faced 22 charges, including acting as a medical practitioner and furnishing a dangerous drug without a prescription. Menjivar faced 18 charges, and Alvarez, six charges.
All three appeared in court for an initial appearance on Tuesday, Sept. 19, records showed. They each posted a surety bond and were due in court in October. Attorneys for each defendant were not listed in the court docket.
Police denied a request for booking photos of the trio, citing an ongoing investigation.