A Mexican dentist is in jail tonight after the Hidalgo County Sheriff TMs department conducted an undercover investigation into his illegal dental operation.
Authorities say the dentist was using the Yerberia San Miguel, which is an herb shop located at the 2600 block of West Expressway 83 in Mission, as a front for an unlicensed dental clinic.
Inside the shop, the walls are lined with several scented candles but a row of chairs hint that the herb shop is more of a waiting area.
A trip down a hallway reveals a dental office outfitted with everything from an X-ray machine to professional drills.
It took us about a week and a half to secure an appointment, Sheriff Lupe Trevino said. They were extremely busy; that TMs what worries me.
The investigation revealed that the dentist was licensed in Mexico but not in the United States.
Once inside the office, investigators found substandard conditions.
What we found is that a lot of dentist operating in the Reynosa and Progresso were losing their American clientele because of the drug violence, Trevino said.
The dentist busted today had a large clientele base and could have been operating for several years.
But because he is not licensed, there is no agency insuring that he follows strict guidelines to make sure his practice is safe and hygienic.
Number one it TMs unhealthy and unsafe for our constituents and number two it TMs against the law, Trevino said.
Trevino said many people turn to underground dentists because they are uninsured, but he warns that getting dental work done by an unlicensed dentist is risky.
There are a lot of clinics that offer help, Trevino said. That TMs my advice, do not visit these undercover clandestine dentist offices.
Trevino said the shop and home owner connected to the dental office may also face charges in connection to this case.
He believes there are many more dental operations like the one busted today.