BOSTON — A Merrimack Valley woman has pleaded guilty to performing illegal injections to the faces and buttocks of other women in the attic of a Lawrence home, authorities said.
Gladys Araceli Ceron, 72, of North Andover, pleaded guilty Friday in a federal court to five counts of delivery for pay of an adulterated or misbranded medical device received in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice.
"Ceron performed illegal injections to augment the buttock or fill wrinkles of three other women in exchange for money and misled her victims about her qualifications and the identity and safety of the material she was injecting," the statement read.
Ceron was arrested in May 2019. A federal grand jury then indicted her for the crimes.
She faces up to three years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 on each charge. She is scheduled for sentencing in federal court in Boston on Aug. 5, 2021.
Prosecutors said from about 2004 to 2019, Ceron, while operating from an attic at 17 Grafton St. in Lawrence, "performed illegal bodily injections using 'gluteal material' that she obtained from a source in Florida. Lab tests of the material subsequently confirmed that it contained silicone oil – a substance that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns can travel through blood vessels and cause a stroke, death or permanent disfigurement," according to court records.
In 2018, Ceron agreed to perform buttock-enhancing and facial injections for an individual, according to court documents. During a recorded meeting on May 24, 2018, Ceron told the individual that she charged $500 for buttock injections and $60 for each wrinkle-filling injection, the documents show.
A search of Ceron’s business resulted in the seizure of several bottles and syringes of a substance that tests revealed to be silicone oil, prosecutors said. Numerous uncapped, used syringes were also recovered from the business, prosecutors said.
Ceron, a native of Venezuela, said she was performing the injections in Lawrence for 15 years, according to an affidavit filed in the case by a federal agent.
At least one customer who went to Ceron for cosmetic injections to her face said the material later hardened and did not go away. Ceron's customer was later quoted "a price of $4,000 from a medical specialist to have this material removed," according to the affidavit.
The customer could not afford to have the hardened substance removed, the affidavit said.
An examination table and two other tables with vials of injectable drugs, devices, syringes, alcohol, cotton balls and other items were found by investigators in the attic, according to the affidavit.
"The FDA has approved numerous injectable dermal filters, such as Juvederm and Restylane ... The FDA has not approved any injectable fillers for non-prescription use for large scale body contouring or body enhancement," read an affidavit filed by Maximilian Pagano, a special agent with the FDA's office of criminal investigations.
Lawrence police Detective David Moynihan was involved in the investigation.
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