Three men have been arrested and a fourth is at large in connection with the illegal production and distribution of stem cells.
The four men had been selling the drugs to terminally ill individuals under the pretense that stem cells had been approved by the FDA to treat their fatal diseases.
According to a Reuters report, the four men are Vincent Dammai, 40, Alberto Ramon, 48, Francisco Morales, 52, and Lawrence Stowe, 58.
Vincent Dammai, is a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina. Reuters reported, he unlawfully used school facilities to produce stem cells without the FDA’s approval. Alberto Ramon from Del Rio, Texas, is a licensed midwife who is said to have used blood from patient’s umbilical cords to create stem cells at a maternity care clinic.
Francisco Morales, from Brownsville, Texas, falsely reported that he was a medical doctor from Texas who specialized in the treatment of incurable illnesses through the use of stem cells. Cory Nelson, a Special Agent responsible for the FBI's San Antonio office said, Morales would meet buyers in the United States to sell stem cells and then travel to Mexico for procedures.
Authorities are still seeking the fourth man, Lawrence Stowe of Dallas, Texas, and have issued a warrant for his arrest. The indictment charges that Stowe “marketed, promoted, and sold stem cells” to treat a number of diseases according to Reuters.
In 2010, “60 Minutes” interviewed a patient with Lou Gehrig's disease who was told by Stowe that stem cell treatment would cure the deadly disease. There is currently no cure or a treatment to reverse Lou Gehrig’s symptoms.
"The investigation identified a scheme whereby the suffering and hopes of victims in extreme medical needs were used and manipulated for personal profit," Special Agent Cory Nelson said on Friday, according to Reuters. The FBI has said the men gained more than $1.5 million from terminally ill patients.