Drug Enforcement Administration


Douglas W. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge

August 09, 2017

Contact: Erica C. Curry

Phone Number: (602) 664-5609

Fake Doctor Arrested By DEA Sentenced To Over 38 Years In Prison

Botched Cosmetic Surgeries Resulted in Hospitalizations

TUCSON, Ariz. -  The DEA announced today the sentencing of Gustavo Nunez to 38.25 years in prison for performing illegal cosmetic surgeries on seven victims, three of whom were hospitalized, one with life-threatening injuries.  In April 2017, Nunez pleaded guilty to 28 felony charges after performing illegal liposuction procedures.

“Gustavo Nunez represents the worst type of criminal,” said Doug Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of DEA in Arizona. “One who preyed upon women in our communities and most certainly deserves the sentence handed to him today. The DEA is committed to protecting our citizens from dangerous offenders who operate under false pretenses and put the lives of our loved ones in danger.”   

The DEA began its investigation in May 2013, after receiving a tip from a victim of Nunez’s surgical procedures.  In August 2013, Nunez was arrested after two women reported to local hospitals with severe infections stemming from liposuction performed by Nunez. Continued investigation by the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad in Tucson revealed that Nunez was not a doctor and had no official medical training.  After Nunez’s arrest was reported by several members of the local media, additional victims came forward and provided information on procedures performed by Nunez.  A judge released Nunez on bond shortly after his arrest.

“Gustavo Nunez victimized women and violated the public’s trust,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Justice was served and we take comfort in knowing he won't be able to harm unsuspecting patients while he's locked up in jail.”

In June 2014, a woman was dropped off at a Tucson hospital after she stopped breathing while Nunez had attempted to perform liposuction.  An investigation by the Pima County Sheriff's Office revealed Nunez did not seek medical care for her for nearly an hour while she endured multiple seizures and suffered from lack of oxygen to the brain.  The woman spent weeks in a coma and is now afflicted with a brain injury and permanent stroke-like symptoms.  Nunez was arrested again and held without bond.

During the investigation, DEA agents served search warrants on locations associated with Nunez including a location in Tucson staged to resemble a professional doctor’s office, complete with an operating table, medical equipment, and cabinets stocked with prescription medications.  

This investigation was conducted by the DEA Tucson District Office Tactical Diversion Squad, with the Tucson Police Department and Pima County Sheriff’s Office.  This case was successfully prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
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