New York City police have arrested and charged a 44-year-old Bronx resident for her role in an alleged butt lift procedure that went badly wrong. Whalesca Castillo was arrested on Wednesday morning, the Independent reports, after allegedly performing a butt implant injection on 48-year-old Lesbia Ayala on June 17.
Authorities investigating the case believe that Ayala died of an embolism after Castillo pumped silicon into her buttocks and thighs. She had travelled from her Philadelphia home to Castillo’s Bronx residence for the procedure, which was illegal under state laws.
Before Ayala’s death, Castillo had been arrested twice before for providing illegal silicone injections. In September 2011, she pled guilty to operating a plastic surgery clinic without a medical license, and spent a year in prison. At the time, it was reported that one former client contacted Castillo to tell her that her buttocks and thighs were leaking blood. Castillo suggested she purchase Crazy Glue and apply it to staunch the bleeding. Whilst on probation following her 2011 prison stay, Castillo was caught performing silicone injections again in March 2014, and returned to prison for nine months.
Castillo’s lawyer, Robert Osuna, told the Independent that he couldn’t comment on the charges against his client, as he hadn’t viewed the criminal complaint. “We’ll have to see what the charges allege,” he told the publication.
Watch: Butt Lifts for Likes: The Instagram Booty Effect
Illegal butt injections have become a problem for New York City authorities in recent years, with a surge in illegal clinics catering to women who don’t have the funds to visit licensed operators. If performed improperly, the procedure can be fatal: silicon injected directly into leg tissue can travel to the heart and lungs, causing embolisms. In 2017, 44-year-old Latesha Bynum died after receiving illegal injections at a cash-only Gramercy Park apartment. Even rap superstar Cardi B has spoken about her experience with illegal butt injections: In an April 2018 interview with GQ, she spoke of undergoing the procedure in a basement apartment in Queens. “It was the craziest pain ever,” she said. ‘I felt like I was going to pass out...it leaks for, like, five days.”
"It's not common for people to die right away from these procedures, but when someone who has no medical experience does something like this to the body it is fraught with complications," cosmetic surgeon Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian told Broadly in 2016. He characterized such procedures as a life-threatening gamble. “At some point in their lives, they’re probably going to develop a reaction.”
Of course, when performed by licensed medical professionals, butt surgery is mostly safe. In 2018, Broadly followed three women at various points of their journeys to increase their butt sizes: from a 22-year-old Instagram influencer, to R&B singer K. MIchelle. All had very different stories and reasons for wanting to change their figures, but all wanted a bigger butt.