LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas man was arrested Monday on suspicion of peddling a “miracle cure” for COVID-19, cancer and autism.
Elias Beltran, 53, was taken into custody after an online sleuth alerted police to his activities, prompting a search of his apartment that authorities said had been converted into a chemical lab, KTNV reported.
According to police, Suarez believes chlorine dioxide is a cure for COVID-19 and told authorities that the machine he uses to produce it “is the same machine he uses to clean pools.” He faces a single felony count of acting as a medical practitioner without a license, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
Specifically, Suarez is suspected of manufacturing and selling chlorine dioxide, also known as Miracle Mineral Solution CD, online, the newspaper reported.
According to KTNV, Suarez admitted to having treated two to three patients in California, along with having friends, family and internet followers as clients.
“(His) lack of oversight is unlawful and creates a dangerous situation for the community, the patients and public at large,” police wrote in Suarez’ arrest report, the TV station reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly warned people not to consume chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleaching agent that has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects, noting that its ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and symptoms of severe dehydration.
“Despite previous warnings, the FDA is concerned that we are still seeing chlorine dioxide products being sold with misleading claims that they are safe and effective for the treatment of diseases, now including COVID-19,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn stated in an April 2020 news release.
Dr. Brian Labus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told KTNV that “there is no miracle cure for COVID-19.”
“There is nothing that’s going to protect you 100%. The vaccine is the best tool that we have. And so I would encourage people to listen to medical organizations that are reputable about how we should be protecting ourselves from COVID-19 and treating ourselves if we get it,” Labus said.
Meanwhile, the Nevada Poison Control Center confirmed to the TV station that it has encountered one case of sodium chlorite mineral solution ingested to “treat” or “cure” COVID.
Suarez, who claims to have an advanced chemistry degree earned in Mexico, told police that he purchased the ingredients found in his apartment from Amazon, Lowe’s and an herbal store. Police found 5-gallon buckets filled with unknown liquids covered in plastic, another bucket with tubes running into a respirator, several glass jars and plexiglass devices inside the makeshift lab, KTNV reported.
Police also said that the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners confirmed that Suarez was not licensed to practice any form of medicine, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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