LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas man is under arrest after reportedly selling a "miracle cure" for cancer, autism and COVID-19.
Elias Beltran, 53, was taken into police custody on Monday at his residence in central Las Vegas after police say he was running a chemical lab out of his apartment.
An anonymous tip came to authorities over the past weekend that shared Beltran was manufacturing and selling a bleach product known as chlorine dioxide as a cure for COVID-19, autism and cancer.
Beltran advertised his product on the internet and social media, according to police, with him saying he believed his miracle mineral solution, chlorine dioxide could cure COVID-19.
People clearly want to protect themselves from COVID-19, but unfortunately are turning to phony alternatives that could end up being the real reason for their hospital visit.
“Don’t sit there and play Dr. Google," said Dr. Jeffrey Ng of Ng Family Healthcare. "The Internet’s sometimes very helpful, but it’s also very dangerous.”
He says that harmful, misleading products like Beltran's only serve to confuse doctors.
“It’s not just COVID--they take medicines for testosterone or hormone replacement," he said. "And they get conned into these non-FDA approved products and then I don’t know what’s going on.”
And these made-up remedies can make you sick. Chlorine Dioxide can cause severe diarrhea, headaches, dehydration, and vomiting.
The 53-year-old admitted to treating two to three patients in California along with having friends, family and internet followers as clients
“There is no miracle cure for COVID," said Dr. Brian Labus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor at UNLV. "There is nothing that’s going to protect you 100 percent. 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 and treating ourselves if we get it.”
The Nevada Poison Control Center stated: "We’ve had 3 cases of intentional misuse of Ivermectin in NV this year to 'treat' or 'cure' COVID and one case of sodium chlorite mineral solution ingested to treat COVID. The concern with the latter is the creation of chlorine dioxide which causes GI disturbances and dehydration."
Beltran told police he had advanced chemistry degrees out of Mexico but admitted to not being a doctor. Authorities say he did have licenses in Nevada that would allow him to treat or diagnose patients in any form of medicine.
Upon his arrest, officers say they 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 his apartment.
Dr. Labus says that people resort to these scam remedies because they are scared of getting sick and seek some form of 100 percent protection.
“If you get in your car, you put on your seatbelt, knowing that it isn’t 100 percent going to keep you from dying if you get into a car accident, but it does a very good job of protecting you," said Dr. Labus. "And that’s what we’re talking about with the vaccine.”
Beltran says he would post videos online on how to make chlorine dioxide and accept donations, trade and money as compensation.
Beltran told police that the machine that he used to make the product was the same that he used to clean pools and that he purchased his ingredients from Amazon, Lowe's and an herbal store.
Beltran is facing charges for acting as a medical practitioner without a license and is currently booked at the Clark County Detention Center.