California woman arrested for selling skin creams tainted with mercury, authorities say

A California woman was arrested on suspicion of smuggling tainted skin creams into the state and selling them on Facebook.

Maria Estela Esparza Magallanes, 30, is accused of selling creams containing dangerous levels of mercury.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the woman sold the items using Facebook ads which promised the illegal products, smuggled in from Mexico, would treat acne, remove age spots, and lighten skin color.

Mercury-tainted face creams have prompted recent warnings from California's Department of Public Health because of their harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems which can be fatal.

In July, a Sacramento woman was hospitalized "in a semi-comatose state" after using a product tainted with mercury.

The creams were sold under the names "Crema Esparza" and "Crema Jimena."

According to an affidavit, Magallanes sold the illegal products to two victims in parking lots, and she used the U.S. Postal Service to ship products to an undercover agent.
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