Of the 700,000-plus people estimated to have entered the United States illegally last year, at least 463 died trying, 140 of those in Texas. Many more bodies lie undiscovered in the desert. Because of increased border enforcement in urban areas, illegal immigrants are increasingly turning to more hazardous routes across inhospitable terrain, an ordeal that for many involves acute hunger and thirst.
That's where Victor Favela comes in. The Los Angeles man announced in a press release yesterday that his company would scatter bottles of his company's product along the border to help sustain beleaguered immigrants lost in the desert.
His company? "Delgada y 30," or "Thin and 30." His product? A weight-loss capsule that works by suppressing hunger and thirst. Apparently, Favela is concerned that the urgent need for food and water is exceedingly uncomfortable and wants to ease the final hours of desperate immigrants, rather than, say, give them actual water or food.
Until recently Favela had a Web site offering to buy derelict houses for cash. Back then he called himself "the Admiral," claiming to have served in the Navy. On his new site, this time in Spanish, he bills himself as a "plastic surgeon's assistant," "informed on all kinds of various health problems." This expertise has apparently allowed him to circumvent the global patent UK pharmaceutical company Phytopharm has on his alleged secret ingredient, an African cactus called hoodia.
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Favela says the dreaded Minuteman movement is rumored to be gunning for him, but the brave admiral/surgeon's assistant is determined to carry on his noble campaign: "I don't care—this is the best thing I can do for my people." Other than perhaps going and getting lost in the desert himself. --Rick Kennedy